By Jerry Alatalo
“There is no such thing as an independent press in America. I am paid for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street looking for another job.”
JOHN SWINTON (1830-1901) Editor, New York Sun
or those on the spectrum ranging from an above average knowledge of the reality in Syria 2011-2017 to those with little or none, American housewife and independent journalist Ms. Janice Kortkamp has earned a great deal of respect and gratitude for energetically and courageously seeking and speaking the truth.
“Thank you all for coming. Thank you so much to the Syrian American forum for hosting me, and sponsoring me here today. I love talking about Syria and, so, really, I’m honored to have this time with you. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover so I’ll just go right into it. If you don’t mind, I would prefer to take questions at the end. I’ll try to leave a half-hour at the end, but if there’s something really urgent, feel free to raise your hand and we’ll try to address that.”
“I do want to say that I am here on my own. I’m not here representing the Syrian … Syrian American forum, Boston College, anything else, you know. I’m just here giving you my own opinion, what I’ve learned, and what I’ve observed over the past five years of researching the Syrian war, and Syria as a country.”
“I call these presentations ‘An American Housewife in Syria’ for a reason. It’s because I am an American; I consider myself a patriotic American. I believe it is the duty of every honest American to hold our government accountable for its words and actions, and I think we’re a critical part of the checks and balances of our constitutional republic.”
“I am a housewife; I am not paid by anyone for anything. I spent a lot of time washing dishes and cleaning the house and picking vegetables in the garden and that kind of thing. I do not represent any movement, organization. corporation, denomination, other nation … and Vladimir Putin does not pay me. Nobody pays me. My husband and I, we … he’s a handyman. He fixes houses, he pays for most of my trips to Syria, although we have received some help from friends and family, which we really appreciate.”
“I started researching Syria in 2012 – in November of 2012, as a matter of fact. It’s a map (referring to visual part of presentation) of where I’ve been; I’ll show it to you in a minute … In 2012, at the end of that year, the Arab Spring as it was called was in full swing. I had been kind of watching it on the evening news, had seen Colonel Gaddafi get tortured and killed, and at that time I thought it just seemed kind of fishy.”
“I didn’t really know anything about the Middle East much, but I knew enough about Saudi Arabia – that I felt that if a freedom and democracy movement had skipped it by that maybe there was something fishy going on, and so I decided to just dig in my heels a little bit and as an American try to learn a little bit about the Middle East and what was happening there.”
“At that time on the news we’re told President Bashar al Assad of Syria would be next, and at any moment he would get pulled out of whatever bunker he was hunkering down in, and he would be eviscerated by the people protesters and a new dawn of freedom and democracy would come to Syria. And I have to confess, up until that moment I believed that narrative … because I was ignorant.”
“And so I noticed that he had, I’d started researching and I noticed that he had given an interview on RT in the end of September of 2012, and I decided to watch it just out of curiosity to see what this brutal tyrant … how he could justify the violence towards his people. And it literally was not two or three minutes into that interview when I felt in my gut that he was telling the truth; and it shocked me, and I became kind of obsessed immediately with finding out if my gut was correct, or if he was … or if what we were hearing on the news was the accurate story.”
“And he said something in that interview, though, that really messed up my life, I think, forever. He said … he said basically anybody can become President, but I am Syrian, I was born in Syria and I’ll die in Syria. And I remember thinking what’s so special about Syria?; I knew nothing of the country, and so, well, I decided to research the war, I decided to research the country as well.”
“And the more I found out about Syria itself the more fascinated in the country itself I became. So since that time I put in five years, well over 6,000 hours of research, I have conducted hundreds of interviews on the phone and via Skype etc. with Syrians, both in Syria and outside of Syria. I’ve put in a lot of time researching, you know, government documents, media reports from all over the world, listened to every speech that President Assad has done, and the opposition has done.”
“It … You know, I’ve really tried my best to be as well-rounded a researcher as I could be, but after four years of that I decided it was necessary for me to go and see if what I thought was going on matched reality on the ground.”
That was the transcript of only the beginning (6) minutes of Janice Kortkamp’s extraordinary 1-hour, 25-minute Boston, Massachusetts presentation delivered in November 2017. What Ms. Kortkamp further points out until concluding her presentation, including her successfully shattering the many myths about Syria, will deeply shake the moral foundations of any decent man or woman in America.
In particular, Americans with little awareness or gross misperceptions of the truth about Syria hearing her talk about U.S. foreign policy toward that war-torn nation – from decades before 2011 until today in late 2017 – will experience very strong emotional reactions. For that matter, Ms. Janice Kortkamp’s painfully honest talk will certainly disturb any normal thinking person on Earth – and especially so for those owning a real sense of human decency.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
(Thank you to Janice Kortkamp Fearing at YouTube)