Last updated: 13 October, 2011

US embassy in Damascus hits back on Facebook

The US embassy in Damascus has hit back at apparent glee in the Syrian state media over the Occupy Wall Street movement sweeping the United States, posting a Facebook lesson on democracy.

On its official Facebook page, the embassy took a thinly veiled jibe at the regime of Bashar al-Assad, saying that, while there is dissatisfaction in America over the economy, that did not translate into police shooting “thousands of protesters” or demonstrators being tortured.

The message referred to the fierce government crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrations that erupted in Syria in March.

“Some Occupy Wall Street organisers have been arrested for disturbing public order (blocking traffic) but they won’t be tortured, and no family will receive the body of a protester bearing torture marks,” read the embassy post that highlighted eight points differentiating how the US government reacts to protests as compared to Syria.

“Occupy Wall Street groups… can say whatever they want about the US government without being arrested or shot,” it said.

It also highlighted the fact that the upcoming 2012 elections in the United States will not be “under the control of the American intelligence establishment” and that the US government “will not tell the world that there is a vague foreign conspiracy for which it lacks any specifics or evidence but that it says is encouraging the Occupy Wall Street or other protest movements.”

The post ends with the following words: “Something to think about …”.

The message has sparked mixed comments, with some backing the embassy’s stand and others blasting America’s record on democracy.

“The conspiracy of the US against Syria turned into an open war months ago – open your eyes! Syrians know and see that!” wrote Facebook user name Ahmad-Ramez Kassou.

Another Facebook user identified as Fahad Alshalan, begged to differ: “Are you people blind or just stupid? Try to see on YouTube or any TV channel in the world how the Syrian regime thugs shoot/torture/terrorise/humiliate Syrians. No matter how bad the American system is, there is absolutely no comparison whatsoever.”

The US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has come in for heavy criticism in recent months by regime supporters in Damascus who have accused him of helping incite violence in the country.

The ambassador has also angered the regime by visiting protest hubs outside the capital in a show of solidarity with pro-democracy demonstrators.