Home » Earshot – “The drawers of memory: Ahmad’s story” by Jess Davis

Earshot – “The drawers of memory: Ahmad’s story” by Jess Davis

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Images taken from Syrian TV since the start of the conflict 


On 14 December 2015, the ABC Radio National program Earshot broadcast a half hour program produced by freelance journalist Ms Jess Davis. It was titled, “The drawers of memory: Ahmad’s story”

The introduction to the program is benign enough –

In 2011, Jess Davis went to Damascus to learn Arabic. In that beautiful old city she met the light-hearted Ahmad, and they would hang out in cafes speaking a mixture of Arabic and English.


But the personal immediately moves into the political –

When the country began to descend into civil war and unimaginable violence, Jess had to leave and Ahmad joined the protesters risking their lives to oust President Bashar al-Assad.


Below are critical responses to the program.



Jess Davis’ program was extremely slick and persuasive with its use of a personal story told by both an articulate Syrian and a young Australian woman journalist, extracts from ABC news reports, the reading of poetry by a highly regarded Syrian poet, and by Jess’s (an Aussie’s) personal acceptance and bolstering of Ahmad’s claims.  Surely it broke all the rules in the book – or perhaps there is no longer any book.  It wasn’t personal. It was very political, dangerously political as uncritical support is shown for Saudi and Qatari backed insurgents in Syria and for the ‘revolution’ against the secular army and society. It was a message to budding journalists that it is possible to get on the ABC if you have a good story that touches the heartstrings and doesn’t challenge the conventional wisdom on Syria, or the group-think. Forget the need for analysis or verification.


Are we so gullible, so naive?  If we are, then this makes us very vulnerable.


The pro-Islamist ‘revolution’ / pro-US war message may go over the heads of most listeners, but not over the heads of those who do support the Takfiris.  Also, because of the level of trust in the ABC, there will be parroting of the claims prominent people in the public arena.   The war and terror goes on and on, unexamined and so unchallenged.  We are all complicit.


Who to trust?





18 December 2015


My grandfather was in the 8th Light Horse, so fought at Gallipoli. He was also in Damascus on the day T.E. Lawrence left it never to return, possibly because he believed his Arab friends had been betrayed by the secret agreement between France and Britain, which meant Syria would come under French rule.  But France had to bomb Syrians into submission. Syria and its people have been betrayed ever since.  The first successful military coup orchestrated by the CIA was in Syria,  just a couple of years after it had won independence from France and had had elections. The coup brought in years of instability. In the 1950s, MI6 and the CIA covertly worked to undermine the Syrian government. This led to a crisis in 1957 when the Syrian army surrounded the US Embassy in Damascus.  More recently, a former French foreign minister Roland Dumas has said in a TV interview that he was informed before the start of the ‘Arab Spring’  in Syria that the UK was organising an invasion of rebels into Syria.


There are many possible reasons why some governments wish to destroy the independent secular state of Syria.  Syria is in a strategic geopolitical location.  It is in a region where there are huge oil reserves. It is politically aligned to Russian and Iran, not the US and its allies.  It is a neighbour of Israel but it castigates Israel for its continued occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory.  It is a secular state, so there is freedom of religion and women have basically the same rights and opportunities as men; thus, it challenges the Wahhabi school of Islam, which has political power in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  Its constitution forbids political parties based on religion or sect; hence, the Muslim Brotherhood targets the current government.


For 100 years, the people of Syria have been betrayed by western governments and their allies in the ME.  The covert and overt attacks on Syria continue.  In ‘The Drawers of Memory – Ahmad’s Story’, Ahmad reports how he joined armed groups fighting the Syrian army.  He risked his life smuggling huge amounts of cash to them, money from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  He supported the ‘revolution’ in Homs, at a time when over 50,000 Christians were expelled from their homes by supporters of the ‘revolution’. Ahmad claims he was in Damascus when the government allegedly used sarin gas against people. Investigations by Seymour Hersh, Dr Ted Postol, Richard Lloyd, Dr Denis O’Brien, Turkish opposition MPs and others challenge the claim that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attack. But it continues to live in Australia because serious investigative journalism is just not done on Syria.  Anyone can say anything as long as they damn the Syrian government (or is it ‘regime’?).  That makes us complicit again in a war against Syria.


For 100 years, Syrians have been betrayed.



Susan Dirgham

Giving regard to Syrians, their secular state and a search for the truth


Images from “Aflateen world Children’s Day, Syria Damascus Jaramana”


Jaramana is not far from areas held by armed groups so it has been a regular target of car bombs and the mortars fired by armed groups.  Will the victims of Ahmad’s ‘revolution’, such as the people of Jaramana, have a chance to respond on Earshot to Jess and Ahmad ?



“A day in Jaramana”, The National, 23 October 2013

This Is CBC’s The National 

The National is the flagship news and current affairs program of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada’s public broadcaster. Broadcast seven days a week, the show is anchored by Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge

Aflateen world children’s day ♥ 【Syria Damascus jaramana】أفلاطين يوم الطفل العالمي سوريا جرمانا


This video of interviews  (above) with young people in Jaramana, Damascus, highlights the efforts of young adults to brighten up the lives of Syrian children.  Though so young, all would be intimate with fear, grief and conflict.




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