A R A B I C A ارابيكا
*On the Friday billed as the "Day of Freedom," the Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera satellite channels unveiled a double blow to the regime of Bashar al-Assad: Both channels aired live feeds of massive protests around the country. It is not clear how this happened since both networks are barred from covering Syria, but the channels somehow managed to hook up a satellite link to air live amateur footage from the ground. For its part, Al Jazeera showed live protests rocking four different Syrian cities. Syrians cut off from the Internet were able to tune in to the Arab world's two most popular news channels and finally see what is really happening in their country. Users can click for live streaming of Al Arabiya using their home page. Al Jazeera's live feed is available here, with a special iPad app also available for the channel.
The Twittersphere applauded the Syrian protesters:
*Hiba says, "finally Al Arabiya has live coverage from Homs. The mask has fallen. Bashar – you're a killer."
*Al-hurr, or "he who is free," notes: "To the Syrian heros: Be patient. Victory is close."
*Adnan Madi says: "A shaky man cannot make change. Keep going, freed people."
*A tribal leader from the eastern Syrian region of Deir Azor gave an interview to Al Jazeera describing "several demonstrations across the Deir Azor region." Despite a "heavy security presence… and firing on the demonstrations," Sheikh Nawaf al-Bashir said that nevertheless "young people turned out across the province to ask for freedom, dignity and justice. When asked about how the official Syrian media has cast doubts on the protesters' versions of events on the ground, Al-Bashir said "the Syrian media lies and is not credible." He noted that the regime has killed "women, children, religious leaders and the elderly," but has not been able to crush the revolt.
*Syrian citizens continue to document the atrocities committed. Shaky video clips, taken with mobile phones, chronicle government snipers and soldiers firing live bullets at unarmed civilians. Citizen journalists are becoming more savvy, here noting the date, city and location of a soldier firing in the street. More of the same in the town of Ghababib here.
*In the small coastal city of Banias, hundreds of men gathered downtown and shouted "Allahu Akbar" as what looked like a fire truck sprayed water on them. "Friday – the ‘Day of Freedom,"" the person filming says at the end of the clip.
May 20, 2011
photo credit: illustir