Coming from a country where Twitter has been blocked since its rollout, I must admit that I have missed an ocean of opportunities to hook up with the trending global networks.
My romance with journalism starts with a curious mind. Dubbed as a “walking encyclopedia” in elementary school, I have always been inquisitive to know more about the surroundings. However, the moment of truth has just came that I realized that my solicitous character has largely been squandered. Western social media was like a karate chop on me that revolutionized my old-school thinking about learning. Because this epiphany came so late in my life, I was playing like a fool last week when a news tip came on my Twitter page.
It all started with this feed.
As a Twitter starter, I have not developed an infatuation in reading the feed, but this one surely got me.
To understand this tweet, one does not have to possess professional knowledge on the Middle Eastern shadow diplomacy. With civil war in Syria raging its sledgehammer the third year now, its citizen has eaten the gall of bitterness when international humanitarian aids appeared to be operating in vacuum. To quickly recap the history, the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was a royal descendant of the historical Ba’ath party which has dominated the country for half a century. At least three massive wars have broken out between Syria and Israel since 1948, with the latest being the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Ever since the foundation of Israel as a state, Syria has been consistently taken a hawkish stance on its very existence. Because of the dire relationship between these two states, Israeli has launched numerous offensives on Syria during the past two years, notably Israeli jets attack on Syrian arms convoy, Israeli airstrike on Syrian chemical weapon research site and Israeli preemptive assault on Syrian missile stockpiles. In the aftermath of Aug. 21 chemical attack on Syrian civilians, Israeli supported a limited strike in Damascus to curb Assad’s CWMDs(Conventional Weapons of Mass Destruction.)
So, what does this tweet say about the recent update about Israeli-Syrian relationship? I was almost baffled by what this information entails. Israeli have been helping Syrian civilians in the civil war! My bewilderment may sounds hypocritical to some, but nobody should forget that the relationship between these two states went so bad that there still sits the Golan Heights DMZ as a military buffer straddling across their borders.
All I did that day was a simple reply to the tweeter.
It was too hollow a question that the poster did not care to reply.
Having read the tip sheet by Steve Buttry, the third tip called crowdsourcing struck my temple. Should I really count on what people are posting on Twitter, even if the poster belongs to a well-regarded org with many followers?
Today, I decided to untangle this tweet. I hopped on the Twitter search box and typed the keywords “syrians;israel;hospital”. The result astonished me. I have almost misread Israel in its positive effort in salvaging lives of its neighbor!
I found tweets like these, overflowing with loving kindness:
Wait a minute! Does that mean these stories are true that Syrians were indeed getting help in Israel? I’ve spotted a commonality among all these tweets–they were all posted by pro-Israeli groups. Couldn’t all these be an Israeli left-wing propaganda that screams harmonious coexistence of these two states? Why there is no tweet from Syrians? Twitter is officially banned in Syria, but uncanny people could always bypass the Internet blockade with proxy software. This train of thinking gives rise to another advice I learned from Daniel Victor–“In breaking news, I default to the assumption that everything I see is full of crap.” Doesn’t this sound familiar in this situation–Injured Syrians treated in Israel when two states are still in an official state of ceasefire at the Golan Heights.
All these being said, I know that this journey leads me to investigate more if time permits, following the footprint of the rumor-debunker Andy Carvin.
Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear your comments and feedback below.