OUR EARLIER WARNINGS ABOUT ORIENTALISTS, GATEKEEPERS, EVANGELISTS AND SUBVERTERS OF THE SYRIAN ONLINE MOVEMENT
Over a year ago, after many experiences of the issue discussed in the articles attached below, I decided to write about it and Ghassan did a follow up on it. The issue is about one of the forms of Orientalism that Syria has been subjected to. These two articles, one written by myself and the other by Ghassan, published in early 2016, caused a huge stir from the very people who are claiming they have no part in being Orientalists, Gatekeepers, Evangelists or Subverters. First, one of the characters, published it on her own blog and others wrote in to say how wonderful the article was and that they agreed with me. But rapidly when it sunk in what this article really said, the mode of reaction switched from "I'm sharing/publishing this to prove it is not about me", to damage control and then to outright attack. As they moved from one mode to another, they exposed themselves even more.
Under threat was their freehand they had been given to drown out the intelligent, diverse, local knowledge, lived history of indigenous writers who they could not secure or keep under their control. Instead they continued to flood the alternative media with repetitive, low quality news and analysis and one particular topic, which although the terrorists are almost destroyed, continues to be played repeatedly like a scratched old record. It is this event which really brought it home for many of us Syrians/Levantines and family members as to what was going on. Cheap, repetitive, catchy news was to be circulated widely and to impregnate the venues that supposedly are to give voice to the nation under attack.
We have learnt over the years about the varied and innovative forms the Empire has in waging war on "non-compliant" nations. With the explosion of activism using social media, millions and millions of dollars were injected into perverting it, controlling it, obstructing it and channelling it in the direction the Empire prefers. We have heard this about so many movements that ordinary, caring people support in the belief that it is a genuine cause only to find out that Soros and other specialists in this war strategy have cornered most of the protest movements all over the globe!
Our movement, since at least mid 2013, has been cornered, subverted and re-directed and the Syrians who took a lead in our online movement (talking about the English language one) either are part of this or were too inept to wake up to this and do something about it. The biggest offender, if truly a patriot, let it all slide due to personal failings of ego and vindictiveness.
Whilst the Palestine cause has had many decades of experience in working with Solidarists and with the West, this was all a new thing for Syria, a nation that only a few years before the War on Syria began was pretty much isolated from the rest of the Western world. Empire, knew this and knew that they could easily recruit a whole army to subvert the online fight. Even in the last few months a flood of new FB profiles are out and about making quite sophisticated pro-Syria posts, when only a while ago their profile has years and years of posts that are totally apolitical, sometimes totally banal and mindless and then, suddenly on an appointed day, they become hard core activists! What's the pay scale? Is there such a high degree of unemployment in some of the Western countries that undercover work as a purported activist is seen as lucrative work?
So we from the actual patriotic Syrian community, stand up and speak out, against the tide, warning about the continuation of the Empire's strategy to control the region including that of the alternative media. So it is the usual business; kill the people, try to unseat the government, and control the narrative from those people!
and Ghassan Kadi's follow up on this.
Recently a member of the Syrian Orthodox Clergy also expressed similar concerns to that which Ghassan did and here is his interview.
Here is an interesting article about the social media manipulator employees. It doesn't delve into the more tricky and pernicious problem of infiltration and tainting of alternative media and the protest political movements but it gives a good background. And, to think that when the whole world stands up against Syria and we find a successful on-line defence group, anyone who denies that such a group would not be infiltrated by agents and trolls, then they would have to be very, very naïve or worse!