Tag Archives: syria

Wednesday’s Got Issues: Syrians are massacred and the UN doesn’t care

Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik

This week it seems that everyone has begun to talk about the unrest in Syria, particularly in the city of Homs, but that’s all that they are doing, talking. I’m not going to pretend to know all of the details regarding why President Assad is murdering his own people, or even why the UN and various governments seem reluctant to take action against a violent dictator. However, as I recall, the action against Colonel Gaddhafi was a lot more decisive and swift, and I refuse to believe that any governing body can think that it is preferential to do nothing.

Today the main story has been the deaths of American journalist, Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik, an undeniably tragic occurrence for people who strived to tell the stories of those without a voice. Hopefully the high profile nature of this news story will spur the authorities into action against Assad, who, according to Colvin’s final report, has been purposely attacking densely populated civilian areas and refusing to allow anyone to leave. However, it should not be the sad deaths of two dedicated professionals that inspire our world’s leaders to aid the suffering Syrians, the very fact that a government was murdering their own people should have been enough.

As I understand it, the hesitation is due to the strong Syrian army, powerful position of the country’s leader and, probably, it’s ownership of oil (please correct me if I’m wrong). But the fact that it may be a challenge to overcome a terrible regime should not be a deterrent. Many Syrians have died in their efforts to attain freedom, and their sacrifice should not be in vain. Call me crazy, but the entire United Nations against one administration doesn’t sound like much of a fight. I can’t understand what they are waiting for, do they think that a homicidal tyrant is simply going to stop his vengeful attack? Or are they waiting for all of the dissidents to be murdered and for the country to return to a dictatorship, so that they can return to the more important matter of rewarding the bankers that caused a global recession?

Hopefully our world leaders will grow a backbone soon, for the sake of the Syrian people.

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Wednesday’s Got Issues: Something happened in the football world, and everybody cares

The main news story today has been the resignation of Fabio Capello as the England football team’s manager, it has been everywhere since it was announced. If you look on the BBC homepage this story, and the story of another aging manager’s court trial, are pretty much dominant features. And what irritates me is that everyone has an opinion, is talking about it as if it affects their life, and generally accepting the massive coverage that has been going on. Why? Because the UK is a nation of football fans, you only have to look at an average tabloid newspaper’s TV advert to see that the majority of the working and middle classes focus a lot of their attention on which of ‘their’ teams has beaten the hated rival (which incidentally changes to suit every single match), rather than realising that there are bigger news stories out there.

The same applies to the importance that the general media place on stories of celebrity hook-ups and break-ups, it is almost painful to see a BBC newsreader, used to reporting in a warzone, relegated to a red carpet event just to ask some jumped up ingenue about what it was like to kiss Brad Pitt. Fuck. Off.

I’ll admit, the world of entertainment is something of an interest of mine and while I can’t stand football, if there’s a story about the All Blacks then I’m all ears. But the point is that if I want to read about such subjects, then I go to the relevant source, I do not expect Perez Hilton to get as excited about a general election than he did about Kim Kardashian’s wedding. Of course, he does report quite often on political matters, particularly ones relevant to gay civil rights – which is very admirable – but that’s not why I read his website. If I go to the BBC News homepage, I expect to see stories that fit in with their reputation for high brow reportage, not the revelation that millionaire Russell Brand will not be asking for any money from millionaire Katy Perry. Yes, it’s refreshing to see celebrities mid-divorce behaving like adults (I’m looking at you Halle Berry), but I’d much prefer to hear about what has been going on in Syria, or at the Leveson inquiry.

In a way, I’m mostly annoyed with other people. The media has responded to signals from their viewers about what constitutes an engaging news story, and they are going to do whatever they can to increase their ratings, I get it. But just once it would be nice not to have to get my information about more serious topics from sources on Twitter, rather than have to wait even past the human interest story, in which a farmer has grown a marrow bigger than his entire family, to learn a bit more about what’s going on in my country.

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