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Patrik Paulov introduces Syria’s silenced voices that never were allowed to speak in the MSM

Using his own sources in Syria, leaked diplomatic documents, and reports in both alternative and established international media, the Swedish journalist Patrik Paulov questioned in his book “Syria's Silenced Voices” the official version of the intervention war in Syria, which Swedish media and politicians mediated and yet, today, continue to convey.

He talked about the widespread foreign involvement in the war by the United States, Turkey, and several Gulf states besides the role played by Sweden, including joining the EU sanctions and backing an opposition movement that has cooperated with a terrorist organization.

The Syria Times e-newspaper interviewed the journalist, who was formerly the editor of international pages at a weekly newspaper Proletären., to shed light on his book and its effect on public opinion.

Paulov was the first journalist from the West to contact the Medical Association in Aleppo city for an interview as events in this city have, throughout the year, been among the headlines in the media.

He critically examined and revealed claims about Syria by the western media and the governments in the west.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Why you did not believe what the Mainstream media (MSM) said about the events in Syria?

First thing is that when it comes to war and international conflicts, you have to learn from history. In the fifth century B.C. the Greek dramatist Aeschylus said that “In war, truth is the first casualty. “This is also the case today.

Wars are often motivated by noble purposes, to save a people from oppression, to introduce democracy or to safeguard human rights. But all experiences say that every time a war is launched with such phrases, the warning bells should ring. There are usually major political and financial interests behind.

With the Iraq war still fresh in our memory, and all the lies of the people in power, it was obvious to me to critically examine the MSM picture of the development in Syria. And the need for critical scrutiny appeared even greater when the entire Western world, along with Turkey and the Gulf states, described the events in the exact same way.

From the start, there were voices against the prevailing image in the MSM. Over the years I have interviewed many residents of Syria and Syrians in exile in Sweden, and they have given a completely different picture of the events in Syria. But they are, as the title of my book says, Syria’s silenced voices. They seldom or never were allowed to speak in the MSM.

Why have you chosen to write a book about Syria?

I have been following the political developments in the Middle East every day since the early 2000s. When the uprising in Syria began, I wrote the first article in April 2011. I have followed with great interest the developments in the country and with the help of voices from within examined and revealed claims about Syria by the western media and the governments in the west.

When I was asked by the publishing house Karneval forlag in Stockholm if I would like to sum up eight years of work by writing a book about Syria, it was an obvious choice to say yes.

Have you ever been in Syria?

As a journalist, I have visited many countries in the Middle East. For example I have visited the Western Saharan refugee camps in Algeria, I traveled around Iraq shortly before the war broke out in 2003, I visited Lebanon in the fall of 2006 shortly after Israel had bombed the country and I went to the headquarters of Al Jazeera in Qatar (it was before it started to sound like a propaganda outlet for the “rebels” in Syria).

I have been to Syria twice before the war broke out. But I hope to be able to travel to Syria in the near future and meet all the people I have been in contact with for many years.

In your opinion, what is the effect of books being written by many foreign authors about the reality of events in Syria?

Let me tell you this, based on the situation in Sweden. We have freedom of expression and freedom of press, and I have no problem writing articles that challenges MSM or the positions of Swedish politicians, and there was no problem publishing my book. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to convey a different opinion on the issue of Syria and reach a big audience. The MSM – the daily papers, public service etc – have so far all chosen not to review my book, even though  a significant part of it is an examination of how Swedish rulers interfered with and acted in the conflict in Syria.

If they thought that what is being said in the book is wrong, then they could have written that and questioned my facts, and then we could have had a debate. But they prefer silence. They do not like to discuss other views or Syria.

So even if you are allowed to speak out in Sweden, it is very difficult to break through and make your voice heard as the MSM has so much power to choose which voices and which views are going to be heard.

Still, I think my book in the long run will have effect on the debate in Sweden. It is sold in bookstores and reaches a lot of new people, and there are a lot of people at the seminars where I talk about my book and the developments in Syria.

And not least, I notice from Syrians living in Sweden, that they are very happy that finally there is a book about Syria which gives a picture that they recognize and agree with. I have received so many nice words and so much appreciation from Syrians in Sweden.

Many of them are also involved in and are helping me to spread the book. In this way, I think it will reach many Swede’s and affect the general picture of what really happened in Syria.

Peace researcher Jan Øberg commented on the book on his blog, saying: "I am very pleased and grateful that Patrik Paulov's extraordinary book Syria's Silent Voices has just been published ... [This] is a comprehensive, independent analysis done because the book has so much focus on Syria's own people – ordinary people that always disappear in the media watching for the benefit of the leaders –and at the same time, Paulov dismantles the official media picture, revealing the game of the world powers…

Actually, Paulov does nothing but what a journalist should do: he asks questions, digs where he stands, and seeks documentation instead of cutting and editing mainly US news agencies. He contributes to public education, diversity, and debate. One can only be surprised that so many have not done what he does here… One does not have to agree on every detail to truly appreciate such an act and recommend the search for a greater truth, in which Syria’s Silenced Voices is a successful example.

Buy the book! Read it! And tell others! Then you might also help others in the media industry to do like Paulov.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour