Madaya and the Media: Lies, Deceit and Double Standards

The siege of Madaya has once again propelled Syria into the media spotlight with the propaganda more false, biased and ferocious than ever.


The timing of the ‘Madaya is starving reporting’ is suspicious given the UN were in the area in December last year to deliver aid and carry out medical evacuations with the Syrian Red Crescent.  According to the UN’s own report there are 15 besieged towns in urgent need of assistance, but operations are obstructed due to the presence of armed actors.

The UN does not go on to specify who the armed actors are and have left the media to wrongfully accuse Assad and his forces. Moreover, in a desperate attempt to influence public opinion the mainstream media, including the Arab media and Islamist propaganda outfits have unashamedly been recycling images of starving children and adults from elsewhere. Some went further, using a pretty young girl to show the extent of starvation by Assad. Only, the young girl was not Syrian and found alive and well in Lebanon.

The Madaya siege has led the media to scapegoat Hezbollah and the Syrian army who surround the area like Yarmouk, but ignore the fact that aid is being hoarded and sold at extortionate prices by the western backed rebels who have infiltrated the area.

The residents of Madaya have attested to the criminality of the rebels, who they say: steal aid, including bread, rice and milk to sell at a considerable profit. Prior to this rebel orchestrated farce, Madaya had market stalls full of food that suddenly went missing. Furthermore, why is it that the people parading and sharing images of starved people and children are not starving themselves? Has anyone asked why Madaya is besieged? It’s not to starve people, but to encircle the terrorists bedded in with civilians.

Activists have shared videos of residents of Madaya demonstrating against the rebels and showing their support for the army and government. Further illustrating the ambiguous claims of the media that Assad starves his people. The fact is that the rebels have been using hunger as a tool to discredit the Syrian government. The media and the Islamist outfits are showing double standards and outright hypocrisy when it comes to condemning such atrocities.

Kefreya and Fouh are too besieged, but as these areas are inhabited by Shias their plight appears to be less significant and not worthy of condemnation. Selective criticism of the abuse of human rights has long been a feature of the international community, but now the Muslim media is following suit by peddling the mainstream narrative and echoing western critiques.

Gaza has been under siege by land, sea and air by the Israelis for a decade and in turn Gazan farmers are denied fishing and farming rights, those that dare attempt to earn a livelihood are sniped at. Yet, there is no intervention or even talk of applying sanctions to Israel. The Egyptian Morsi, during his very short rule filled the tunnels used to funnel aid to Gazans with sewage.

Yemen the poorest country in the Middle East has been subject to ruthless and indiscriminate bombing by the Arab coalition. The Saudi led bombardment is targeting schools, hospitals, markets, homes, and killing in their droves. Yet, no one dares to criticise these crimes and the media don’t think Yemen is worth covering.

If the international community, including the media are so outraged by the starvation of Syrians, why did they not oppose or condemn the sanctions placed on Syria from the onset of the conflict? Sanctions that harm countries and their citizens economically leading to their impoverishment. Because, the goal has always been regime change under the pretext of human rights.




Written by Sara Yasmin Anwar

Sara is a freelance journalist specialising in politics of the Middle East and Arab affairs.

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