Syrian Street

Dear Jeremy Paxman & BBC,

With complete shock and horror, we followed your interview with the British citizen of Syrian descent Danny Abdul Dayem! He, clearly, was on a mission to take full advantage of the air time he was given to simply transmit the “Syrian revolution” propaganda. Instead of the usual quizzing and interrogation, on Newsnight, Danny was given an easy ride to say ALL he wanted without being challenged. We were, also, very alarmed by the different accounts he has given to different news channels, including Sky News, al Hiwar, Alarabiya (in Arabic) and the Guardian. Here are some of inconsistencies that some Syrian friends and I have noted;

•(@00.08): In the beginning of the interview, Danny’s answer to the first question summed the intended message all up; “yes, I’ve seen EVERYTHING”.

•(00.35): He gets away with a video that shows and proves absolutely nothing!!

•(@01.48): Danny claims that “three quarters of the shots are aimed and one quarter is just to scare people”. If this was, truly, the case then tens of thousands of Syrian protesters would have lost their lives, rather than the reported figure of 2600, which is in itself under dispute!

•(@02.34): He tells Jeremy that a car stopped two meters away behind him, and shot at him. Yet, the bullet managed to come from the waist and come out his back?!

•(03.08): Danny tells Jeremy Paxman that he was shot by a SINGLE bullet that went through his body and presumably left two scars.

(@0.49): In Sky News report, a single scar in the middle of Danny’s back is clearly shown!

(@13.50): This, again, contradicts him showing the presenter of al Hiwar channel TWO dressed wounds to the sides of his back after telling him how he was shot with TWO bullets, not one!

To add to the confusing picture, the Guardian goes on to mention how Danny had five stitches, in the hospital, on EACH wound!

(@0.20): In his latest interview, on al Arabeyah; Danny goes back to the story of the single bullet that went through his waist and out his back.

•When speaking on how he got shot, Danny made sure he spoke of food and medicine that have to be “smuggled” into Hama, because if the security catches food or medication, they would take it out and “burn” it; something many Syrians from Hama would simply dispute and classify as opposition propaganda.

•(@0..15): Danny speaks of his friend who threw him on the floor and then “stood up” in front of him to take three bullets!! It is very hard to imagine anybody who would do such a thing; standing up in front of a car, two meters away, with “security/ shabeeha” inside it and most probably “aiming” at the two of them!!

•(@02.36): He tells Jeremy Paxman that the bomb exploded before he was shot.

(@10.39): The presenter on al Hiwar channel was told a bomb exploded before he was shot and then a bomb exploded after he was shot!!

(@00.50): On al Arabeyya, Danny goes on to add that one person (from alkhaznadar family) died when the bomb exploded- something he felt didn’t think relevant to be mentioned in previous interviews.

•(@03.25): There was no explanation offered as to why the car had to drive away, when it took five minutes for people to get to Danny and his friend (despite the sound of the shooting and the explosion of the grenade/ grenades that was/ were thrown at them). All this suggest it is an isolated area. If those armed men were from the army or security, what would frighten them in an isolated area after they injured Danny and his friend? Why were they shot at in the first place? Why would they be shot by the security? (it is according to Danny; protesters were shot at when they went out on the streets…and this was not the case)

•(@03.58): If they aim of security/ shabeeha to kill injured protesters who go to hospital for treatment; driving away does in an isolated area does not seem the best way to do it, as they could have easily done stopped and took better aim at their victims.

•(@04.19) Statements seem to change as he speaks; “They shoot at night and wait at hospitals in the morning… and “actually go at night to the hospitals too”!!!!

•(@20.15): The presenter from al Hiwar, was told that Danny needed to take 4 Ibuprofen tablets (instead of the ONE tablet a day he was prescribed as a pain killer for his wound, that is few days old). It would be fair to say; the majority of doctors would classify this medical prescription as inappropriate!

•(@20.05): He tells al Hiwar channel; at first, he was NOT asked about his wound, in the airport, and if he was then he would have told them it was a kidney operation. Seconds after that, he goes on to say he told them it was an operation and that they let him go without any trouble.

(@05.15): Danny tells Jeremy Paxman; he told them at the airport that he had a kidney operation.

•(@09.42): In his interview with al Hiwar, he says that one friend was taken to a hospital that was under the protesters control; with 200 of them surrounded it to “protect” it from the security. Of course “protecting” the hospital against the armed security, can strongly suggest the use of some kind of weapons- which is common knowledge for many Syrians inside and outside Homs.

•(@05.02): Even though, in al Hiwar interview, Danny speaks of the “peaceful protests” in Homs and how they “joke” about the “armed salafi gangs”. This is how the Daily Telegraph quoted Danny and his family about the situation in Homs;

At first protesters were merely calling for reforms. But the brutality of the regime’s response has caused them to harden their line: in some areas, people have started to retaliate, taking up weapons and returning fire on the security forces.

(See: Syrian exiles tell of life under Assad: ‘They shoot us as if they’re hunting’)

•(@05.38): Danny tells Jeremy Paxman he will go back because his friends are being killed “every single day”- we can’t help wonder how his parents would allow him to go back if the situation was this bad, and if he was shot by the Syrian army/ security!!

•(@05.58): He tells Jeremy too that he hasn’t got a job and he’s not studying: “This is how everybody is in Homs, and most of Syria; no jobs, no studying”!! This generalisation is simply not true. (we KNOW this is not the case across Homs let alone across Syria.. especially that the three months summer holiday for Syrian students is not over yet)

•(@06.17): Jeremy Paxman is told; Protests can’t stop because “Bashar al Assad has got videos for every protester that is going out and will catch them up one by one!!”.. It is quite interesting that Danny seems to suggest that protests are no longer about freedom and democracy, but about toppling the regime out of concerns for personal safety! Videos that show protesters identity are being posted in their hundreds every week by the protesters themselves!!

If the President and his security have videos for all protesters; how come it was very easy for Danny and his family to leave the country without any harassment by the security?

•We would like to give Jeremy Paxman and the BBC an idea about the revolutionaries in Homs, in particular, where horrific sectarian violence have been taking place provoked by some extremist protesters..

**This is Homs protesters back in May, where protesters responded to the call of Salafi Sheikh Arour (who is well known for his sectarian incitement in Syria) to announce al jihad on a Friday night (location: Church of Marlianne, Homs)

**This video, 11th September, shows protesters calling sectarian chants against Jesus; “”The religion of Mohammed is all about Pride and the religion of Jesus is all about Debauchery/ Immorality” @0.42 second..

**This is where two police men are reported to have been burnt by violent and sectarian protesters in Homs.

Any reasonable person with reasonable knowledge about the situation in Syria, and in Homs in particular, would conclude that the BBC interview serves to support the Syrian opposition in its battle to undermine the Syrian regime. Even though, the opposition’s own record of credibility and transparency has proved to be a much damaged one (the story of the “Gay Girl in Damascus” is a good example of that).

All we want to know; why does the “Syrian revolution” continue to be told by the “revolutionaries” only? Who speaks in the name of the 600 army and security personnel who got attacked and killed over the last six months? What is so democratic in a “revolution” that discounts the voice of the Syrian majority?

Many thanks

Hiba Kelanee
Feeda Kardous
Zoubaida al Kadri