Thursday, March 7, 2013

‘The Suffering Grasses’ documentary paints a twisted, myopic picture of Syrian conflict

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The Suffering Grasses
Madison Ruppert
Activist Post

The Suffering Grasses, a documentary by Iara Lee, presents a woefully myopic and one-sided picture of the Syrian conflict, giving uninformed viewers a completely erroneous picture of what has gone on since 2011 and what is going on today.

Most recently, the Arab League has approved the open arming of Syrian rebels with the approval of the United States (though the US has helped funnel arms to rebels for quite a while now) and United Nations peacekeepers were taken hostage by Syrian rebels in Golan Heights.

The documentary was screened at California State University, Northridge on March 6 and was followed by a question and answer period featuring Syrian artist Fadia Afashe and actor Jihad Abdo.

During this question and answer period, the two avoided directly answering questions about the al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra, the prominent Syrian rebel group that was listed as a terrorist organization by the United States in 2012.

They similarly did not condemn the taking of UN hostages but instead talked about how people are forced to think terrorism is the only viable route when made to feel powerless and hopeless.

The documentary, created with the help of the Cultures of Resistance Network Foundation and an anonymous donor, entirely avoided the issue of terrorism committed by opposition forces.

This is completely misleading; and even news outlets that have a clearly pro-opposition perspective like Al Arabiya print articles recognizing that Jabhat al-Nusra “in the words of the head of the Free Syrian Army Salim Idriss has more resources than the FSA itself and enjoys tactical ground advantage.”

According to a March 4 GlobalPost article, “To date, members of al-Nusra have claimed responsibility for more than 600 attacks, which have killed hundreds of Syrians, both military and civilian.”

While it is impossible to accurately number the al-Nusra fighters in Syria, one of the leaders of al-Nusra, Al-Amir Gazi al-Haj, told GlobalPost that they have “representatives in every village in the country.”

Perhaps most worrisome for the many Christians and other minorities in Syria, “Al-Haj and his men say they are fighting to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law,” according to GlobalPost.

Yet this is another area the documentary chose to gloss over, once again giving the ignorant viewer a wholly inaccurate image of the conflict.

The documentary never mentioned the sectarian violence in Syria save once occasion when someone claimed that there were not, in fact, sectarian conflicts but instead it was all created by the Assad regime.

In reality, a United Nations panel found that the conflict in Syria is “increasingly sectarian” and reports of sectarian kidnappings are many.

While one might claim that this is a new problem and thus the documentary, which was completed in 2012 according to IMDB, did not have to cover something that was a minor issue at the time of filming, one would be wholly incorrect.

Even The New York Times reported in 2011, “A harrowing sectarian war has spread across the Syrian city of Homs this month, with supporters and opponents of the government blamed for beheadings, rival gangs carrying out tit-for-tat kidnappings, minorities fleeing for their native villages, and taxi drivers too fearful of drive-by shootings to ply the streets.”

This is not isolated and to put the blame entirely on the government is simply to ignore reality.

I think I must make it clear that I am not a supporter of the Assad government and I do not deny that the government has been behind some inexcusable actions. Personally, I believe we should do everything we can to alleviate the suffering in Syria and protect the lives of individuals on both sides.

However, does that mean that we should pretend the opposition is faultless? Does that mean we need to ignore the sectarian conflict? Should we simply ignore the quite prominent presence of terrorists amongst the Syrian opposition? Should a skewed image of one side be presented along with highly emotional images to influence ignorant audiences?

In my humble opinion, it is not our place to decide who should live and who should die. However, those who gloss over al-Nusra and the other terrorists in the violent opposition who indiscriminately kill in the name of toppling Assad clearly think one person’s life is worth less than another.

I am not the only one who was concerned by this documentary and the picture it painted. Two individuals were handing out literature after the screening including an article by activist, screenwriter and retired teacher Carol Frances entitled, “One Response to The Suffering Grasses.”

In her article, Frances writes, “It seems that in bringing us together to make us grieve for the suffering people, we are being indoctrinated with the real agenda as an undercurrent into our subconsciousness.”

“It doesn’t do us any service to give us simplistic answers that will make it easier for the U.S. to do to Syria what it has done to the Philippines, Hiroshima, Viet Nam, Central America, Yugoslavia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq Afghanistan, and countless other peoples,” Frances writes.

Other materials included “U.S. & Syria: Facts you should know” by Joyce Chediac and “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung confirms: Houla massacre committed by Syrian ‘rebels’” by Clara Weiss.

One of the more disturbing aspects of the entire experience was the reaction of some of the audience.

At one point, a video of a child barely able to speak is shown holding a toy gun in front of a Syrian flag giving a speech reminiscent of martyrdom videos. While one might see this as a tragic image of indoctrination and the destruction of innocence, the audience laughed.

Sure, Syrian rebels posting a video announcement to YouTube complete with Free Syrian Army banners and a statement about fighting Assad’s government while holding toy guns might be somewhat humorous, the videos of parents coaxing children into saying violent messages should not encourage laughs from the audience.

It was not just once; similar reactions occurred at least three times when children who likely had no idea what they were actually talking about discussed violence against the Syrian government.

Are these the kinds of reactions the filmmakers are hoping to get? Do they really want Western audiences to think such images are cute or endearing? One can only guess.

Representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also spoke briefly, emphasizing the “non-political” nature of the organization several times.

In reality, as David Forsythe, the Charles J. Mach Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln pointed out in a 2001 paper, “If we make a realistic analysis rather than a legalistic one or one for public relations, we have to admit that the overall mandate requires UNHCR to be a political agency in the sense of trying to influence public authorities to protect refugees and those in a refugee like situation.”

While the UNHCR might like to call their activities “humanitarian advocacy and management,” Forsythe writes, “These semantics, as well as reference to legal rights, would allow the agency to maintain the fiction that it is totally non-political, or humanitarian, or neutral. But analytically or realistically speaking, this is indeed a fiction.”

That’s not to say that the UNHCR shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing in helping Syrian refugees, but to say the organization is entirely non-political, as the representatives did multiple times, isn’t all that accurate.

Overall, the production quality of The Suffering Grasses was impressive and it was clearly a well-executed film. The problem is that it gives the uninformed viewer a wholly inaccurate and misleading view of what is going on in Syria.

Hopefully the claims made in the film spur those who have less information on the horrific situation to actually look into what was said and find out for themselves just how accurate it is.

Did I forget anything or miss any errors? Would you like to make me aware of a story or subject to cover? Or perhaps you want to bring your writing to a wider audience? Feel free to contact me at with your concerns, tips, questions, original writings, insults or just about anything that may strike your fancy.

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This article first appeared at End the Lie.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCYTV Monday nights 7 PM - 9 PM PT/10 PM - 12 AM ET. Show page link here: http://UCY.TV/EndtheLie. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at


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Anonymous said...

To use a term like "Syrian rebels" is to ignore reality. If you keep speaking on their terms you get nowhere.

Anonymous said...

It takes some really fine well crafted propaganda to get pacifists to support war.

Most of the Obama crowd actually believe in peace and believe in an end to wars. But their hatred of Republicans (the ultimate war mongers) is stronger than their own intellect and ability to reason.
So the Obama wars must be sold as invasions of peace to liberate people from evil dictators.
Pure lies.

Sadly, the Republicans just don't care about anything Arabic. So there will be no protest no nothing from Republicans who secretly kinda like Obama continuing the war on Arabs.
At least when Bush was in power, half the country opposed his wars. Now only the 10% of people fully disengaged from the two party system oppose the wars. The USA continues its acceleration towards self destruction, ignorance and apathy fuel the process.

Anonymous said...

"It takes some really fine well crafted propaganda to get pacifists to support war."

Propaganda is what the Rothschild Agents do best, historically speaking(next to usury anyways).

A good example of how they control people's thoughts is in regard to the controversial "Protocols of the Elders of Zion".

Virtually everyone today, myself included, consider this work to be a very possible fake(it may have originated with Catholic missionaries in the early 1800s that spread pamphlets with similar info).

However to my knowledge the Rothschild Agents themselves have never claimed the Protocols to be fake, but rather just a forgery.

And the definition of forgery = an unauthorized reproduction of an original document, signature, painting, etc. that is as close to the original as possible and thus can be passed off as the original.

Thus the Rothschild Agents have never actually denied the information contained within the Protocols, but merely defined it as an unauthorized reproduction of that information.

Another example would be the joke quote of Mayer Amschel Rothschild(usually credited, or his third son Nathan) about controlling the nations money and not caring who controls its laws.

That quote is a variation of a saying dating back to at least the 17th century, only referring to controlling the nations ballads(music) - itself a reference to the power of propaganda(long before Hollywood).

Andrew Fletcher wrote in his 1703 piece entitled "An Account of a Conversation Concerning a Right Regulation of Governments for the Common Good of Mankind":

"I said, I knew a very wise man so much of Sir Christopher's sentiment, that he believed if a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation."

It is entirely possible a Rothschild did make the quote, though I have never seen a proper source for it, but even if they did it was meant as a joke playing off the older sayings.

The Rothschild agents likely originated this false quote and likely get a good laugh every time someone uses that quote to show how nefarious the Rothschild dynasty is.


Anonymous said...

This so-called documentary is pure desinformation and propaganda showing the rebels as the good guys when they are non-Syrian mercenary death squads trained armed and financed in Turkey by the NATO-CIA-NED,SaudiQatar coalition against all international laws, Geneva convention or UN charter prohibiting covert operations against a Sovereign Independent country or its leaders.

Anonymous said...

Regarding my prior post - Just to explain why I say that quote of the Rothschild's is a "joke quote" - the original quote referring to the ballads is pointing out the control of music, general entertainment and information in general is most important to controlling people.

Even way back before modern Hollywood propagandists hit the scene music and theater and art were well used for propaganda purposes due to their ability to provoke emotional reactions.

Music especially is very good at provoking emotions, when accompanying photographic, video or "dramatized" artwork or theater regarding a subject different musical scores can completely change the interpretation the viewer forms.

So if authentic the quote was uttered with the express knowledge that it is actually controlling information that is most essential.

Allegedly David Rockefeller made this clear to many media personalities and moguls at an event in New York back in the early 90's, thanking them for their assistance as without them covering the Rothschild agent's asses the public never would have allowed them to build the systems they have used to push their NWO(financial, social, governmental, etc.).

So every time someone uses that quote, even if it was really uttered by a Rothschild(or even someone connected to them directly) they are basically poking fun at themselves on behalf of the Rothschild's.

Even I have to say it kind of amuses me, I used that quote a few times as well early on in my "awakening" to it all.

It's not control of money but information that rules the world and the fact even their enemies will propagate the Rothschild's claim to the contrary is proof there of.

Seriously, even as an enemy I have to chuckle at it, especially if the quote was made by an actual enemy of the Rothschild's as a blatant fake propaganda piece.


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