Live from Damascus: Syrian TV covers the air raids
Whenever the United States embarks on a military intervention in or an action involving a foreign land, I try to get some information directly from the foreign source[i]. After a bit of searching on the internet, one can dial in to official state-run television stations from around the world.
Screen shot of Syria TV live April 14, 2018, approx. 8 A.M. Damascus time.
On Friday evening, after the targeted attacks in Syria by U.S., U.K., and French missiles, I located official state-run or state-sanctioned Syria TV in Damascus online. The internet address suggests that it is government-affiliated since it is ortas.gov.sy, with "sy" being the Top Level Domain country code for Syria and "gov" in the address clearly indicating it's an official source. The "English" tab was not working, but I was able to stream the channel's live Arabic-language TV feed from Damascus.
The scene for a half-hour or more involved two men dressed in Western business suits – one, presumably the host, with another on set, presumably the expert, who did almost all of the talking, discussing the Allied attacks that had just occurred. On either side of the frame were what appeared to be live shots of an intersection in Damascus after sunrise Saturday, with heavy traffic moving normally and another shot of the city skyline, suggesting that it was just another typical day in the capital city. The authenticity of the live shots, needless to say, could not be confirmed.
Also at the channel's website were some new political cartoons, and after a search, I discovered a whole page of them. The captions for each one, in Arabic, are on the side of the cartoons and can be translated online.
The cartoon at the top, and probably the most memorable one, was a caricature of President Donald Trump. The caption via Google's translation service translates as "Terrorism ... To the dustbin of history." "Brush artist Nidal_Khalil."
The cartoons, which largely transcend language barriers, offer direct and telling insights into the official propaganda being issued in a hot spot on the other side of the world.
[i] In the 1960s, that involved listening to English-language broadcasts from Radio Peking, Radio Moscow, and Radio Havana – as well as the Voice of America, the BBC, etc. – on international shortwave. Likewise, during the Gulf War (1990-91), aka Operation Desert Storm, I would spend hours with a sophisticated Sony SW radio tuning in to stations from the Middle East.