(Note on scoreboards to #Syria Comment, awaiting moderation): http://goo.gl/I8U1M

I hope Irritated gets over the fainting spell with regard to the easily-manipulable thumb system. As Son of Damascus notes, the red and green marks are best used solely as an "I have read this" marker by individuals.

Those whose lungs labour for air, and whose hearts are a-flutter about this side-issue, did these same folks fall victime to the vapours during earlier block-voting suspicions? No, of course not. In the earlier madcap thumbing episodes, it was the stupefied regimists who were suspected, so the rah-rah Assad supporters in the nose-bleed seats were properly quiet at that time.

Seriously, is it not a symptom of the masked spectator syndrome that these meaningless signifiers are given importance in the first place? For those like Irritated who are purely spectators, who view Syrian events as if a cosmic stadium sport, the scoreboard is important! What does this tell us?

I think these vapourous ladies and gentlemen view the torment as a game, a game they can only understand in terms of war/sport rhetoric. This crimped vantage impoverishes their own understanding. Goal for Bashar! - Turkey is humiliated. Goal for Bashar! France is in a snit. Goal for Bashar! The emirs are big fat pigs. Goal for Bashar! The Syrian Congress is quarreling. Goal for Bashar! terrorists take the borders. Goal for Bashar! the Security Cabinet gets blown up. Goal for Bashar! Hillary is gnashing her teeth.

This partisan yahoo mentality, its jocular play-by-play and 'colour commentary' -- for these guys, the important thing is Team Spirit, singalongs, and other barely-disguised soccer-fan fun.

What I want to stress here is that Irritated's present dyspepsia is grimly hilarious. The capper is the call to "suppress" the scoreboard, or to depart, with one last lame attempt to corral all under the tent of Pro-Chaos.

What are you, Irritated? A long-time sport-of-war voice, but what else?

Please explain if you can -- as have most serious commentators here -- your interest in Syria and your <i>vantage</i> upon it. Tell us of your moral education, your core values, something, anything that we may open our hearts to you. Consider it another lesser-known parlour sport: truth or dare.

Maybe you are a bit like Al Dandy Dash, with an Air Siberia wife and a shack in Key West. Maybe you are like Tara, with elite-class family in the capital. Maybe you are like SNP, a kind of outgrowth (How To Get Ahead In Advertising) from the shoulder of Al Dandy. We do not know. You do not say. So, stick around. Don't move toward darkness, gather your skirts and flounce off to the exits. Don't leave the stadium because your team is having a difficult moment. If you are a serious friend of Syria, you know that it needs less war rhetoric, and less sniggering from the sidelines.


Thanks to Son of Damascus and Mjabali for more details of Alawi social/political structure. I think this is essential discussion.

My sympathies, overwhelmingly with those who have suffered arbitrary oppression, include a large well of empathy for this distinct group. Alawi are the first victims of the Baath junta, their cultural expression extirpated and their community chained to the security state by fear and favour.

They deserve better than Assadism. They deserve full civil freedoms as any other, but like no other, they are most subject to risk of reprisal. Ordinary Alawi are disposable fodder for the War, otherwise just as penned in and subject to an unmerciful government as any community. Thank you men for approaching the issues with an eye to truth and historical record.

As Amjad points out, the social compact among peoples arguably has not irretrievably broken -- the unique tapestry quilt of Syria's peoples is pock-holed, scorched, in some cases ground thin as tissue by tank treads, but it is not yet slashed to pieces. Much of the denunciations of the Berri atrocity came from Syrian "Pro-Chaos" centres -- summary executions of Alawi citizens is not on the menu of liberation; this choice is the first choice of the squads of the 4th who performed 'cleaning' via headshots to civilians yesterday. The further atrocity at the Palestinian camp is not even acknowledged by the fainters in their snoods. Goal for Assad! he shells a Palestinian neighbourhood in Damascus!

Meanwhile, those clutching pearls and leaning towards leaving the stadium, a few deep breaths and a squirt of water and the panic attack can become manageable.

Goal for Assad! Syria Comment is a bitch so I'm taking my vuvuzela and going home.

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