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“Al-Qaeda are good!” he told me, with a smile and a double thumbs up. “I hope that they’ll accept me and that one day I can set off a suicide bomb in a regime area.”

My Friend, the Aspiring Suicide Bomber | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


Of course I’m jealous.

I haven’t funds for myself, much less war zone stringers.

Not that harping about conflict from the Internet’s “second row seat to history” warrants funds.

Nonetheless, one wakes to these items passing by on the computer’s screen, and on this one, it appears Reuters engaged a teenage shutterbug to report from within the Syrian Civil War, and not only didn’t the teen make it but on the way to not making it forged some alliance with al Qaeda.

Should he have been on the payroll?

Here is a link to his photographs: In pictures: Molhem Barakat, the teenage photographer killed In Syria – Telegraph.

I you have clicked and looked, what is the worth of the young photographer’s death in light of the news value of that 15-item slide show?

The Telegraph notes (fourth frame) that Barakat, in fact, never joined al-Qaeda.  The phrase used elsewhere: ” . . . tried to join . . . .”

Whether he joined or not, or was 17 or 18 in combat, we may wonder at ourselves as well as the seasoned pros at Reuters as to the judgment displayed in encouraging so young a soul to stand in harm’s way for a picture.

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On the other hand: how many early illegal sign-up legends have accompanied World War II  and other lore all down the line?

How old was “Johnny” when he went to join his brother in the Confederacy, and Hell itself couldn’t and didn’t stop him?

Syria left the League of Low Intensity Conflicts some time ago.

One may wonder if some of the flack heading Reuters’ way hasn’t to do with deflecting attention from the war’s wholesale destruction of children (mostly by Assad’s bombing “strategy”) and of childhood itself.

BBC News – Syria conflict: Children ‘targeted by snipers’ – 11/23/2013: ” . . . they’re targeted, even tortured . . . .”

Baird condemns ‘appalling’ attack after Syrian troops kill three children in aerial assault | National Post – 12/24/2013.

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Despite the injunctions ever present in the minds of journalists — even the youngest — for “clear, accurate, and complete” reporting, also “objective” as possible, and so on, wars come freighted with politics, the variables of which may have an effect on the reception of tips to events as well as access to officials or action.  Motives for fudging, not good, or chancing, which leads to glory when it works out and infamy when it doesn’t, may have to with other than underlying alliance or sentiment.

As with other theaters of the Islamic Small Wars, integrity is not welcomed — if it were, such wars would disappear with its presence — and journalists with integrity are generally not welcomed either: the armed sides would rather have favorable PR, the kind promoted by state-sponsored “reporting”.


Molhem Barakat: From Al-Qaida Reject to Reuters | HonestReporting

Killed Reuters Photographer Tried to Join Al Qaeda – 12/26/2013.

Reuters called out for editing two photos of attack on Mavi Marmara – 6/15/2010.

When Cameramen Attack – honest reporting – 10/18/2006.

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