Welcome to the axis of evil

May 1, 2009

It’s a devastating critique. Syria is being kept in the dark ages because of a lack of American culture, and poor access to the internet argues a Gulf-based journalist.

"Less fortunate young Syrians who [didn’t go to the American school] used to look forward to movie night at the [American] Cultural Centre every Wednesday. … Movie night was a refreshing two hours of enriched entertainment in a city where American culture is hard to come by."

The problem is, the op-ed is littered with factual errors which drill a hole through Rasha Elass’s central argument.

She rightly mourns the closure of the American Cultural Centre – shut in retaliation at the US army’s attack on a village near the Iraqi border last year. But to say that Syrians would flock there to get a rare glimpse at life in the land of milk and honey is just wrong.

American culture is everywhere in Damascus. This is not North Korea. Walk down any Syrian street and it won’t be long before you come across a shop filled from floor to ceiling with American DVDs – films, documentaries and TV series, all subtitled, all costing pennies, and many available here before they come out in the States.

Read the rest of this post on Sasa’s blog.