In Syria, social media has been the ‘weapon of mass instruction’

I, along with others have been wondering just how the events in Syria from 2011 onwards might have unraveled had the internet not been as advanced as it has been in the last six years.

When the US and the UK invaded Iraq in 2003, those Iraqis who knew of the internet saw it as an exotic, alien entity. Mobile phones were scarce, and even satellite television was not permitted prior to 2003 while email services were mostly limited to government officials.

Would things have transpired differently had the Iraqis been able to electronically communicate their plight with one another and the world to help counteract the established corporate media’s fake narrative that Saddam Hussein possessed Weapons of Mass destruction?

My feeling is yes, things might have turned out differently. Iraq might not have survived the invasion due to its sectarian make-up and heavy sanctions placed on it that greatly weakened the country, but at the very least there may have been less bloodshed and more political and military unity.

The Shi’ias, Sunnis and Christians might well have united in patriotic spirit to fight a common Imperial enemy and save their country had they only had the means to liaise with ease amongst themselves.

The Baa’th party had already instilled a culture of education and learning, so I’m certain that had the people had access to internet, the majority would have wholly embraced it and Iraq might have just survived and been spared of the inevitable terrorist and sectarian wars that it suffers now.

Many Iraqis who lived through Saddam’s rule admit they regret his absence and many only understood the objective of the war well after the invasion.

By contrast, when the NATO alliance began its wars on Syria and Libya in 2011, the internet was more or less as it is now. Both Libyans and Syrians had full access to Facebook and twitter.  Syrians admit that internet and particularly the social media has played a huge role in counteracting the established media’s lies and propaganda which has in turn helped establish an international movement, one that supports President Assad and the Syrian Arab Republic.

Syrian writer and commentator Afraa Dagher says

Mainstream media uses the net and social media to divide and occupy our land and spread lies, especially lies about civilian bombings by the Syrian or Russian airstrikes.  By the same token, we, Syrians reveal their lies by posting original photos along with the real sources. The mainstream media show photos from Gaza, from actual videos of Songs , sometimes from Benazir Butto suicide bombings, and claim them to be in Syria. But we still post the truth, despite our limited net, we post about Hezbollah’s heroic efforts and the real crimes of Israel which they try to censor simply because they know the truth would win.  Recently, the NATO aligned media tried to spread lies about the collapse of our army in Jobar Damascus, lying about the control of the terrorists over Damascus, in the same way they lied about Iraq, making the world think that Iraqi people welcomed the American soldiers when in reality they did not.

The Libya situation is far sadder. Although Libyans had full (and free) internet access, they did not take to the internet in the same way the Syrians did, despite the near 100% literacy rate in Libya.  They did not share the same keenness and curiosity as the Syrians toward the outside world, partly due to the tribal mindset and partly because, unlike Syria who had Iran and Hezbollah – and later Russia step in to assist, nobody did the same for Gaddafi.

Gaddafi turned Libya from sand to the richest state in African history, turned tents to skyscrapers but the culture of learning was not imbedded in a people with a less than 10% literacy rate prior to Gaddafi’s rule.

The Levant, by contrast was always ahead in terms of ancient civilization and modernization, and this is why I don’t believe Libya would have survived the war one way or another.

As for the illegal break-up of the Soviet Union, there was little hope of things transpiring any differently because of the remarkable degree of treachery by Yeltsin and because the internet did not exist for ordinary people in 1991, when an overwhelming majority of Soviet citizens voted in a referendum stating that they wished to remain within a single state, the USSR.

Both during the referendum and in the aftermath of the end of the USSR, Soviet citizens could not share their views with their fellow countrymen and the world on social media because it did not exist. Had it existed, there could have been a real discussion and people like Yeltsin, who covertly conspired to dissolve the USSR at a secret meeting in Belavezha  Forest may have been held to account.

Nor was the internet advanced enough to serve any meaningful purpose in 1999 when NATO illegally waged war on Serbia, bombing civilian targets including schools, churches and television stations.  The only reporters on the ground whose voice were heard, were the NATO propagandists.

It is interesting that by being a moderate leader and trusting of his people and allowing them access to the wider world, both electronically and intellectually, Bashar al-Assad has inadvertently – or perhaps by design helped to keep Syria independent and sovereign, despite the established media’s lies that the ‘moderate’ rebels are winning.

In actual fact, the Syrian Arab Army is making great gains against the terrorist factions and other intruders. By contrast, the more aggressive Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi lost both their lives and nations, perhaps because they didn’t foster an environment that allowed their people to do something the established media never could: tell the truth from the perspective of the people about to be bombed to death.

It is deeply ironic that Bashar al-Assad once laughed at a warning Colonel Gaddafi made at an Arab league summit, when the Libyan leader said that anyone in the room could be next to hang from the American gallows.

It seems that Assad has learned from his own mistakes and those of others. He has become a man who has given his people the freedom to be independent and his assured victory guarantees his people will forever more have the independence that will assure their freedom.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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