Sunday, March 31, 2013

Syrians ask: "Why are they doing this?" "Why are they starving us?"

The answers to those questions lie with the Presidents and  the Prime Ministers of the Judeo-Christian nations and the Sheikhs, Kings and Emirs of the Muslim countries.   They are the all-knowing gods ruling over us.   Only they know what we mere mortals in our infinite ignorance cannot even begin to fathom why.

Alex Thomson writing at TheTelegraphUK:
.... In a bazaar in central Damascus a young man approaches, clearly agitated, maybe even angry. "Here, look at this," he says. "This is for Syria."
Around his neck in Arabic script is a bold, five-inch long tattoo, so fresh that his skin is still healing. It is simply a name: "Bashar al-Assad".
The regime under whose rule Syria is steadily disintegrating still has plenty of supporters in Damascus. But few people have either the time or money for making such designer statements of defiance in this war.....

.....He takes me through the basics of living here, how everything from fuel for heating and cooking through to the basic foodstuffs has increased several hundred per cent.
Chamber of Commerce figures chart the everyday misery of war for Damscenes still in their homes or displaced by the fighting. Since March 15 2010, when the war began, the price of a kilo of tomatoes – a staple of Syrian cooking – has increased by more than five times, to the equivalent of £1.35 at the official exchange rate.
Bread has long been subsidised in government bakeries, but because of the influx of displaced people and the disruption to warehousing and transport caused by fighting, there are shortages and the queues are immense.
In private bakeries, even with the benefit of subsidised flour and gas for cooking, the price of bread has trebled during two years of war. Sugar and rice have gone up 200 per cent and 260 per cent respectively.
A system of government coupon books that allowed families to obtain sugar and rice more cheaply is back in use again – having been all but abandoned as prosperity grew before the rebellion began.
The price of gas for cooking on has also shot up: it has doubled in the state-subsidised sector and has risen even further, to £28 a cylinder – enough for four to five weeks – outside that.
At one government distribution point on a major street, people were angry to see a British television crew as they queued with coupon books – something I've not encountered before in the capital, shouting: "Go! Get out of here!"
A middle-aged man shouted in English: "You are not welcome. You are starving us. You are stopping us living here. You should report this. It is the sanctions. Go home."
It was a shock, in a country whose hospitality to foreign strangers is renowned. He would not shake hands. It was not the fighting that angered this businessman, nor the British government's apparent wish to arm the rebels, but the EU sanctions that are preventing the transfer of money.......

.....At the bazaar in the Old City, fruit seller Fadil al-Bash said he knew just who to blame. "Prices go up because only last week the rebels attacked the wholesale market. They killed five traders. It's crazy. Why are they doing this? Why are they trying to starve us? This is not a military target."..........
....."I am seeing 30 years of economic planning fall apart before my very eyes," said Elaine Imadia, shopping for fruit and vegetables with her daughter. A resident of the city for 53 years, she still has the drawl she acquired growing up in Palisades, New York. .....

.......In fact you didn't need to look far to see how the poor people are managing. They are doing something which is commonplace on the streets of London and New York but until now has been a rarity in Damascus. A middle-aged woman sat at the street corner, quietly begging from passers-by.

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