Faisal al Qassem is a host in Al Jazeera, a well-known Arabic channel based in Doha, Qatar. He hosts the show “The Opposite Direction” and has lately made hateful comments against Alawites of Syria. Qassem has demonized ALL Alawites when one of his guests denounced his hatred introduction.
Prior to the show, al Qassem has tweeted a disturbing question for the “debate” he was going to host. ” Isn’t the right of the Syrian people to revenge against the Alawites that destroyed Syria and displaced its people to keep their interests?”
Al Qassem just rendered all the war in Syria as a “Alawite Vs Sunni Sect” war. It is true that Assad has wide support among Alawites, but he has also support among the Sunni Majority, but here’s not the issue. Al Qassem just blamed ALL Alawites in the war as coupable because Assad is an Alawite. When you open this door, you open the door of revenge and you open the door to genocide.
To have a debate on wether there’s a need to wipe out Alawites is absolutely mad. The question shouldn’t even be asked. The fact that it is asked on a channel viewed by millions renders all the madness and hatred worse. Al Qassem has a “debate” on whether even the CHILDREN should be killed. Worse, one of his guests Shereifidine reinforce the hateful introduction of al Qassem by claiming that Alawites “won’t let go of their power except over their dead bodies”. Shereifidine, a so called intellectual, suggests that you need to kill Alawites if Syria has to change leadership and Alawites should leave Syria if they don’t want to be massacred. He said that he didn’t want to demonise the Alawites, but that the Alawites are bringing the demonisation to themselves. Shereifidine is of course justifying his hateful thoughts.
I honestly didn’t want to continue the nauseous “debate” so I stopped.
Al Jazeera is a widely popular channel in the Arab world. It has millions of viewers and it must influences many of them. Al Jazeera and all popular channels have therefore responsibilities, the core responsibility is to tell the truth. Al Jazeera is a partisan channel, when it openly shows its political preferences, it must does so with minimal ethics, rationality, and most importantly respect. It cannot oversimplify a complex situation and put the blame on one sect or another. When doing so, it almost gives incentives for some people to kill more, and to kill systematically.
Assad isn’t an angel and he is certainly one of the most responsible man in Syria’s destruction. He therefore must be condemned, just like every other group in Syria that kill civilians. Those who support one group or another must certainly be questioned and thoughtful debates should follow, but they should never be held responsible for what their leaders has done, unless they are themselves leaders of hatred groups that act upon their thoughts. It is like punishing the Germans after WW2, because so many of them supported Hitler. Nuremberg trials didn’t hold responsible all the German people, but the leaders of Nazism and the perpetrators of massacres.
Mass media such as TV’s and Radio’s has played a role with massacres and genocides. It is by a book that Hitler spread his hatred against the Jewish, and later by radio and newspapers. It is with a s radio that Hutus demonised the Tutsis of Rwanda and called for their massacres during the war. Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines filled some Hutus with hatred and worse, justifications to kill. Watch this short HRW documentary if you’re interested about the implications of the radio.
Al Jazeera must not take this step and justify the killings of Alawites by demonising them.
If one day a genocide against Alawites happens, as a revenge of Assad wrongdoings, and if Al Jazeera continues with this stance, it will have to bear responsibilities.