I have been hard on NPR for sometimes seeming like a propaganda outlet for the Pentagon but I have to credit Scott Simon and the Weekend Edition Saturday team for airing an interview with a Syrian that ran counter to the usual narrative. The interviewee was Nada Keuttnen, someone who acts a ‘fixer’ for NPR and other western journalists in Damascus to help them navigate the area and meet people. This is just one person’s view, of course, but it was a change from what we normally hear in the western media.
Here is part of the interview:
SIMON: I know you have to be careful answering this question, but do you have any strong feelings about who you want to prevail in your country?
KEUTTNEN: To be honest, now when the outsiders are interfering here in, I don’t want them to win. Because all these Islamists, jihadists, which they came from abroad, they have no at all any vision for this country. So, I can see that the country will be destroyed completely if they get through. So, to be honest, no, I don’t want to be winners.
SIMON: Yeah. What do you feel about the regime – and I know you might have to be careful answering this.
KEUTTNEN: No. OK. The regime have been mistaken for certain things. We used to have corruption. It’s not new. Everybody knows that. But most of the Syrians think that the corruption and the mistakes the regime have, it’s not to be correct this way.
SIMON: This way meaning…
KEUTTNEN: Destroying the country, killing people.
SIMON: What do you think about the regime killing Syrian civilians and perhaps with chemical weapons?
KEUTTNEN: To be honest, I don’t believe that the regime have used the chemicals. And until now, we don’t have proof. OK. They have been used. They have been used. I knew that. Everybody knew that. But the responsible doesn’t seem clear yet. So, we can’t make any conclusions before we know who did it really. After that, maybe we can be angry to either side, but until now we can’t make sure that who use it. And to be honest, why the regime? If it exists and they have the weapons, as they said most of the media, journals and the TV, radios that they have it and they use it. Why they waited that long to use it? And why that they allowed the community to come and make the visit to the Buta(ph) or to Harlasha(ph), why they waited that long to do it. It seems not logic and stupid.
SIMON: So, you weren’t convinced by what President Obama said?
KEUTTNEN: To be honest, I don’t trust Obama not a bit.
KEUTTNEN: Because he keeps saying things which doesn’t exist. And we were, as Arab countries, hoping when he was new elected that maybe he is a bit better than the former Bush. But it seems to be that every president come to the United States is not carrying on anything except what’s help Israel, which it’s their little tribe to be care.
SIMON: What do you think a U.S. military strike might do on the ground? And I know you can’t necessarily know where any bombs would fall, but how do you think that’ll affect your life?
KEUTTNEN: More destroying buildings, more suffering people, more refugees, more difficulties. It doesn’t solve anything.
It is quite impressive, but depressing, how president Obama, who came into office with such strong positive feelings all over the world, especially in the Middle East, has managed to squander that goodwill so soon.