A R A B I C A ارابيكا
PARTY LINE, TAKE ONE
Hezbollah-backed Al-Manar broadcaster reports on Prime Minister Najib Mikati, an ally of Hezbollah, defending his stance that Lebanon should not judge events in Syria. "This position is consistent with the Lebanese position of not interfering in the affairs of other countries," Mikati told reporters. His comments follow Lebanon's refusal to sign on to the UN Security Council's condemnation of official Syrian violence against unarmed civilians.
PARTY LINE, TAKE TWO
The siege in Hama intensifies, with tanks shelling the center of the city and the military seizing the main square that has served as the epicenter of protests. The death count rises. Meanwhile, Syria's official news agency hailed President Bashar al-Assad's decree allowing the formation of political parties "to exist alongside the Baath Party." The move has been universally derided by the regime's opponents, who note that any true opposition parties will have no chance at governing Syria.
Indeed, the decree includes the caveat that the ruling Baath Party will remain "the leader of the state and society." Still, the agency's website followed up its lead story with the headline: "Political figures and academics: legal decree on parties and elections ensure political participation and guarantee freedom and democracy for all."
WORD FROM THE STREET
With voices altered and faces of interviewees obscured, Al Arabiya aired a short documentary on the Syrian revolution here. The military focus may be on Hama, but the army is occupying numerous towns and cities across the country. In a clip said to be filmed in the port city of Latakia, two armed soldiers and an armed man in civilian clothes are filmed from a window above. The man in civilian clothes opens fire several times in the street. "Scumbag, pimp," the person filming says, offering a variety of other curse words.
THE REVOLUTION, IN FLEMISH
The Syrian Revolution Facebook group, the engine of the uprising, features a new banner on its home page. Written on a poster of a vintage photograph of the city of Hama, known for its creaky, centuries-old water wheels, are the words: "Friday, August 5th. God is with us. Are you?" The group has expanded and gone international. It now exists in Turkish, French and Flemish as well as English and features a separate group just for video clips. The latest post from the French/Flemish group in Belgium, called "De Syrische revolutie in België": "Nous n'acceptons pas la négociation et le dialogue syriens. Notre objectif est de renverser le régime," or "we will accept neither negotiations nor dialogue with the government. Our objective is to overthrow the regime."
August 5, 2011
photo credit: illustir