Observers keep wondering: “where are the moderate rebels in Syria? Why can’t we see them?” The answer is simple really: You can’t see the moderate rebels in Syria, because they don’t bomb schools like Bashar Al-Assad or cut off people’s heads like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In fact, they spend most of their time fighting against pro-Assad militias and ISIS fighters with low-quality weapons and haphazard external support, activities which, according to standards long established by international news organizations, are not noteworthy enough to warrant regular coverage, if any, as they lack a certain element of sensationalism and je ne sais quoi.
News agencies cover developments like war crimes, if only haphazardly, and Kim Kardashian wedding, usually ad nauseam. They occasionally cover certain unfolding mysteries, like the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which remains a mystery to date despite ample coverage. But covering the activities of fighters who actually respect the laws of war, most of the time, is considered too mundane and may indeed fail to generate the kind of ratings news organizations crave.
And ratings matter of course. For we live in a world where news have long become a form of entertainment, and covering the mass slaughter in Syria will have to compete with TV series like Hannibal, True Blood and Games of Thrones. Frankly, only the shows produced by the likes of Assad and Baghdadi can compete with that.
To put things more bluntly, news agencies mostly cover shitty people doing shitty things. Since moderate rebels are not shitty people and are not busy doing shitty things,– they are in fact fighting for the survival and freedom of their people, an activity that, lucky for us, is still not considered too shitty by news organizations,– it’s probably a good thing, then, that their activities receive scant coverage at this stage. Just don’t expect the world to reward their unshittiness.
For ours, unfortunately, is still a shitty world that rewards shitty things that shitty people do by lavishing them with too much attention, not in an effort to stop them, but as an ongoing process of legitimating shittiness as the standard modus operandi and vivendi by all for all. Shittiness is indeed the norm. It’s no wonder that we spend our lives moving through a veritable galore of it.