Homs massacre shocks Arab press
Arabic media review

Homs massacre shocks Arab press

Israel is slammed over Gaza strikes and emo culture is spreading in Iraq

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Iraqi emo youth (photo credit: AP/Alaa al-Marjani)
Iraqi emo youth (photo credit: AP/Alaa al-Marjani)

A new massacre in the Syrian city of Homs is sending shock waves throughout the Arab press on Tuesday, with dramatic headlines and graphic photographs.

“Homs massacre shocks the world,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, accompanied by a photo of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton covering her face with her hands in what seems a gesture of despair.

The daily reports that protest processions have taken place across the country in solidarity with the 57 victims of the Karam Al-Zaitoun neighborhood, who were “slaughtered with knives and burned alive.” A-Sharq Al-Awsat also reports, quoting local activists, that young and elderly women were raped before being killed.

“A massacre of dozens of women and children in Homs,” reads the headline of liberal daily Al-Hayat, followed by a lengthy account of Hillary Clinton’s statements and those made by the Saudi government.

Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera features horrific amateur footage of slain children, as well as demonstrations and government crackdowns in cities across the country, including Aleppo, the country’s second largest.

“Child killer,” reads the headline of an editorial in A-Sharq Al-Awsat by editor Tariq Al-Homayed. “This massacre shows that the world’s inaction has cost Syria dearly,” he writes.

“Military intervention must take place now,” writes the editor, who has been focused consistently on Syrian violence for weeks. “An international coalition of the willing must rescue the Syrians. Every day that passes without a decisive international stance means prolonging the Syrian crisis, with catastrophic ramifications for the region.”

Saudi columnist Mashari Dhaidi attacks the conciliatory statements made by international envoy Kofi Annan in A-Sharq Al-Awsat.

“I don’t know what world Kofi Annan lives in,” writes Dhaidi. “The reality that escapes everyone, except Saudi Arabia and most Gulf States, is that what is happening in Syria is a revolution to overthrow an evil regime, not just ‘a difference of opinion’ or limited demands for reform.”

Gaza sidelined by Syrian developments

The escalation in the Gaza Strip and Israel’s south was marginalized by the violence in Syria Tuesday.

Palestine-focused daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, printed in London, quotes Hamas sources saying that Egypt has offered to send fuel to Gaza in return for a ceasefire. Hamas is also criticizing Al-Jazeera for its “weak and imbalanced” coverage of the violence in Gaza.

Al-Hayat reports that the death toll in Gaza has reached 23 so far, adding that Israel is considering a ground invasion of Gaza if it continues to be bombarded by rockets. The Islamic Jihad, the daily reports, will only accept a ceasefire with Israel that includes Israeli guarantees to stop targeting its operatives.

Al-Hayat columnist Jihad Khazin criticizes the United States on Tuesday for its backing of Israel in its attack on Gaza.

“American foreign policy in the Middle East was created in Israel against Palestinians and all Arabs and against American interests,” writes Khazin. “The US Congress is more Israeli than the Knesset and the Israel lobby AIPAC bought it and put it in its pocket … US President Barack Obama is trying once again to sell his soul to the devil, but the Israeli devil doesn’t want to buy it, settling for the Congressmen it had bought.”

Columnist Hicham Munawar, writing for the Saudi-owned news website Elaph, quotes Israeli commentator Alex Fishman in Yedioth Ahronoth as saying that the Israeli attack on Gaza was nothing more than an ambush designed to examine Hamas’s commitment to calm with Israel and to test the effectiveness of the Iron Dome defense system.

“Following all the media hype surrounding Israel’s military strike on Iran’s nuclear program, the prime minister returned to Tel Aviv disappointed. Therefore, a way had to be found to vent the animosity created by the Israeli media machine, which beats the war drums. What better than Gaza to vent this internal military anger at the lowest price, from the point of view of Netanyahu and his supporters?” writes Munawar.

Emo culture is spreading in Iraq

Emo culture is spreading like wildfire in Iraq, reports Elaph, and Iraqi women are trying to explain this new phenomenon in the local scene. Iraqi teenagers are adopting not only emo fashion — with its dark clothes and long hair — but also its introspective, melancholy and skeptical philosophy.

“We have forgotten that Iraq is part of this world,” says Pascal Warda, a former Iraqi minister for human rights. “Now the world has begun to penetrate us and we have entered the world.”

Reports have emerged recently of persecution of emo teens in Iraq.

“I don’t know why we call this a phenomenon,” says Raghad Suhail, an Iraqi university professor. “It is normal for youngsters to wear certain clothes. Everyone goes through fights and wears strange clothes at that age.”


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