Sunday, July 2, 2017

What’s the motivation behind the social media attacks on the Lebanese army?

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Some people used the recent events in Arsal to attack the Lebanese army. They took a photo out of context and claimed the army is mistreating Syrian refugees. What’s their motivation? Why give a false image of the Lebanese army and portray it as racist and repressive?

They took a photo showing Syrian men lying on the ground, hands tied behind their back, as Lebanese soldiers are standing guard. They added a caption stating: "Being a Syrian refugee in Lebanon...",  insinuating that this photo actually showed how Syrians are generally treated here.

But they failed to say that this photo was taken right after five suicide bombers blew themselves up as the army raided refugee camps near the border town of Arsal, searching for terrorist sleeping cells. They failed to say that these suicide bombers wounded seven soldiers and killed a Syrian girl. They failed to mention that, not so long ago, 19 soldiers were killed and 35 others kidnapped in that very same area by Daech and Nosra. Did they conviently forget that four soldiers were murdered during captivity and nine are sill missing? 

Lebanese soldiers wounded in Arsal
Lebanese soldiers held hostage by Nosra
Lebanese soldiers held hostage by Daech
Ali Sayyed, beheaded by Daech during captivity
Family of kidnapped soldiers still waiting for their sons return

If this piece of anti-army propaganda was the work of some immature rebellious teenager, it would have been of no consequence. But these people are far from being immature rebellious teenagers. They are educated adults that work for a known NGO, and some of them are part of the Lebanese gauche caviar, the so-called "leftist" bourgeoisie.

I despise the lynching mentality so many Lebanese seem to cherish, so I will not publish the names of these people and the NGO they work for. But I wonder what their motivation is. Why willingly suppress the fact that there were terrorist sleeping cells hiding in these refugee camps? Why portray the Lebanese army as the bad guy?

Would they have preferred if the army didn’t raid the camps, if the terrorists were allowed to roam free and blow themselves up in densely populated areas, killing dozens of innocent people? Or do they actually side with Daech and Nosra, believing they represent the Syrian "revolution", regardless of their crimes? 

Do they hate Lebanon so much, they use misinformation to claim that Syrian refugees are mistreated here, but never mention that Lebanon has been the most generous country in the world towards refugees, welcoming two million of them – a number that equals almost half of the Lebanese population? Why do they never say that despite the dire economic crisis and the growing poverty, there never was any street protest against the refugee’s presence in Lebanon, as there were in many other countries?

Ironically, their NGO claims to specialize in "documentation and research" and is funded by several countries at war with Daech, countries that support and help the Lebanese army in its fight against terrorist organizations. I wonder what these generous donators would say if they knew their money is used by people that spread fake news about the Lebanese army, thus fueling Daech and Nosra propaganda.

The dishonest post was deleted shortly after I confronted the people that published it. Only to be posted again without my comments and with a new caption no less dishonest. In other words: they removed anything that contradicted and challenged their statement and kept on attacking the army. Curious totalitarian method for people claiming to defend freedom of expression! 

Regrettably, many similar anti-army posts are being published and shared on social media by so-called "leftists". They seem oblivious that attacking the Lebanese army has always been detrimental to Lebanon and its people. And by doing so today, they do Daech and Nosra’s bidding. Perhaps it’s unvolontary; perhaps they have no ill intentions, just naivety and ignorance.

Let’s hope it’s the case; let’s hope they finally understand that the Lebanese army is the only institution still holding the country together. Without it, Lebanon would fall into mayhem. As it did in 1975 when the same "leftist" bourgeoisie sided with Palestinian militias against the Lebanese state’s institutions.

© Claude El Khal, 2017