There are a multitude of marketing campaigns surrounding the conflicts that are being fomented globally but few more so than in Syria where Assad, the national armed forces and the Syrian people are steadfastly and valiantly thwarting every attempt by the Interventionist nations to overthrow their elected government and deny self determination to the people of a sovereign nation. Syria is resisting and commensurate with the level of resistance is the degree and intensity of propaganda being levied at them.
I will be investigating the far more serious aspects of this propaganda in other articles being incubated as I pen this little aside. However, the viral tide of social media “empathy” with the Syrian refugee who saved his four legged feline bundle of sentimentality has motivated me to put fingers to keyboard. I have been reading unbelievable outpourings of sympathy and mawkish romanticism in relation to the young man who has been photographed clutching said bundle of fur to his chest having refused to abandon his kitty during his epic voyage, fleeing the horrors of Syria.
This is the photo that appears to have turned the tide of inertia, suspicion and fear regarding the marauding “swarms” of refugees into a tsunami of tender, embracing platitudes and offers of sanctuary for this diamond studded embodiment of mercy and humanity.
If you are still doubting the power of this image, here are a selection of the genre of comments swamping news feeds on Facebook:
Now, before everyone lambastes me for my lack of compassion and sympathy for this saviour of feline kind, bear with me.
“I began to notice a pattern of these kittens that were being cared for by the Free Syrian Army. It was a good story that really showed the human side of the revolution. A lot of folks will turn away if there are photos of killed Syrian children or orphans; it’s really depressing to look at. Cats are uplifting; I understand the Internet’s obsession with cats. In this case I saw the cutest of cats as something that was directly challenging the narrative and showing that the Free Syrian army were human beings, they had the overwhelming support of civilians around them and were kind to animals.”
“I guess if orphans aren’t going to do it, you try kittens, and if kittens aren’t going to do it, we’ll try something else. […..] Fighters cuddling up with cats helped humanize the FSA and so IS is keen to do the same thing.”
This is taken from a Vice interview with Mahmoud Khatib, a Syrian American living in Atlanta, who launched the kitten campaign as a social media humanization crusade for the FSA which was then adopted by associated terror factions currently fighting in Syria, armed and funded by the US & NATO/regional allies all of whom are fixated on Syrian regime change.
Moving on, lets examine the PR and Marketing gurus behind the White Helmets and other associated anti Assad NGOs aka lobbyists [ Free Syrian Voices, Syria Campaign, With Syria, Medics Under Fire]. Purpose.com. The purpose of Purpose is to ” organise consumers for social & political change”. The tag line on their website homepage ” Purpose moves people to remake the world” ….in whose image?
I will be covering the White Helmets in greater depth in a subsequent article but I just wanted to point out the obvious kitten parallels in their “advertising” campaigns. In one video the supposedly “unarmed” humanitarian heroes and miracle workers that are the White Helmets [according to their publicity] are filmed clearly carrying guns. A screen shot from this footage demonstrates how the film maker, perhaps aware of their faux pa[w]s, swiftly cuts from gun toting White Helmet operative to said operative fussing over a kitten that has conveniently appeared in shot to distract us and restore our faith in their “humanity”.
..and just in case this is not enough to assuage any doubts that might be building in our minds, here is a video of mass kittening by the White Helmets.
Before you launch into a tirade about my cynicism and lack of compassion, just bear in mind that we live in a consumerist world of glittering prizes and propaganda machines that are created, educated and lavishly funded to delve into the nether regions of the human psyche in order to extract the desired results that best serve the twisted agendas of the ruling elite. This is not a recent phenomenon but it has grown in sophistication and is Svengali like in its malevolence.
Svengali: A person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another, especially for a sinister purpose.
Remember Libya and remember Iraq, remember the propaganda that plunged both countries into the abyss of political upheaval, a terror filled vacuum and the genocide of their people. The regional destabilization began there and if the marketeers have their way it will continue in Syria, Yemen and beyond. Are those lies so buried in the recesses of our minds that we can so easily be fooled by chocolate box kitten images into believing the bad guys are the good guys and the good guys are the devil’s spawn?
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” ~ Edward L Bernays
It may well be that this kitten salvaging refugee is the epitome of humanity that he is being portrayed as by the main stream media, an image being palpably reinforced by social media. However, this empathy is misplaced, where is this empathy for the 150 + children massacred by NATO “death squads” since March 2015 in Kafarya and Foua, Syria? Where is the empathy for the 18+ children massacred in Aleppo by the same purveyors of terror over the last 2 days of concerted attacks on the City?
Where oh where is the same cognizance of the genocide that is taking place in Yemen as I write this insignificant piece on kittens? Where is the outrage at the use of US/UK cluster bombs, thermobaric bombs and WMDs on the impoverished, starving, thirsty, blockaded children of Yemen? Do we have to superimpose a kitten onto the images of mangled, bleeding, mutilated children for there to be any equivalent outpouring of grief and sorrow? Have we really become that inured to the wholesale suffering of our own species that we give priority to another?
“Propaganda is a soft weapon; hold it in your hands too long, and it will move about like a snake, and strike the other way.” [Jean Anouilh, L’Alouette, 1952]. Our emotions and our perceptions are being manipulated. We have a choice, to allow this to happen or to start questioning that which is being forced upon us “for our own good” because before long we will be too immersed in the propaganda to be able to emerge untouched by the dreadful and far reaching consequences of the campaign that is being waged not with us, not for us, but against all of Humanity.
“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” ~ Malcolm X