On May 25, when regime militias entered the town of Houla and carried out a gruesome massacre killing 108, including 49 children, something very strange happened. Despite the fact that Channel 4 had entered the town the very next day and collected on-camera testimonies from survivors, reactionary outfits like MediaLens, media watchdogs like FAIR, and some left luminaries, including our friend Tariq Ali, started blaming the victims. There is no reason why official stories shouldn’t be doubted, but given the heinous nature of the crime, one would expect greater care with regard to evidence. As it happened, all of them were relying on a single article appearing in a German publication, written by an author who never visited Houla or met a survivor. This was no innocent mistake: it was pointed out to both Medialens and FAIR that their source was dubious and its claim highly questionable. The source was discredited soon afterwards, and Der Spiegel and the UN have since both confirmed the original reports. Neither Medialens nor FAIR has apologized. Here meanwhile is Al Jazeera’s investigation into the massacre.
On May 25, 2012, the once serene region of Houla in Syria became the scene of events that shocked the world – the massacre of around 100 civilians, almost half of them children. The Syrian regime blamed the massacre “terrorist” groups, but this investigation paints a different picture.