Syria: German Author Todenhöfer met with Eyewitness from al-Houla

Posted: July 10, 2012 in Sideviews
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The German author and former politician, Mr. Jürgen Todenhöfer, had an interview with the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The German journalist has also written an article about his interview with the Syrian president al-Assad, which was published by a German newspaper (“Bild”) on Monday.

In this guest article, Mr. Todenhöfer has mentioned, that he met with another person from al-Houla (al-Hula), the region, where the horrible massacre was committed just some weeks ago. This person from al-Houla (Hula) has some interesting statements, which underline, that the Syrian government has nothing to do with this horrible massacre.

And further, this eyewitness, who has lost many relatives in this massacre, also makes it clear that the so-called “Shabiha” (Shabi7a) were also not responsible for this horrible massacre in al-Houla (Hula). This eyewitness knows some of the perpetrators behind the massacre because he was among them, just weeks before in protests against the Syrian government and president al-Assad.

Here is the translation of the guest article by the German author and journalist Mr. Jürgen Todenhöfer:

Author Jürgen Todenhöfer in Syria: My meeting with Assad

I’m just preparing my fifth trip to Syria, as the phone rings. A friend of the Syrian president has asked if my offer from last November, to interview Assad for the ARD, still applies.

Should I do this to me? They will accuse me, that I have offered Assad a propaganda platform. The ARD (SN: German state media) presented therefore precise conditions for the interview. The Syrian government unfortunately, too. No foreign cameraman was allowed to be in the reception room during the interview.

Eight days ago, I flew to Damascus. There, I conducted interviews with victims of war. Members of the Opposition had arranged this meeting.

I spoke the longest time with Ahmed, a young man from Houla (Hula). There, the most terrible massacres of the war happened some weeks ago.

Friends from the neighboring villages, with whom Ahmed had recently demonstrated against Assad, have invaded into his house to kill him and his family. They accused him that he had converted to the Shiite faith. Somehow he managed it, to convince his old friends, that he is still a Sunni Muslim.

Then the murderers rushed into the house next door, where his brother lived with his family. They have actually converted to the Shiite faith. They were murdered along with their children by the rebels.

From the peaceful demonstrations of the first months of war, it has become a war between the government security forces against heavily armed rebels, already a long time ago.

The peaceful protesters of old are marginalized. Who describes this war with the slogan: “A dictator is killing his own people”, has understood nothing.

I have to criticize a lot at Assad. He bears the responsibility, that his security forces have shot in the crowd and killed civilians during the first protests in Daraa (Deraa). He has to answer for, that his security forces attack neighborhoods, where the armed rebels have entrenched behind civilians, with heavy weapons.  It also kills civilians.

The radicalized groups of rebels, I criticize, because they kill civilians deliberately and then output them as victims of the government. This “massacre marketing strategy” is part of the most hideous thing that I have ever experienced in warfare.

I blame the radical factions of the rebels that they have now allied with al-Qaeda fighters. I had a long talk with a captured Al Qaeda fighter, who was involved in a bomb attack in Damascus that has tattered 70 people.

On Thursday afternoon, I’m sitting opposite the man, finally, around which everything revolves, Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian president is different than all the dictators that I had to get to know in my political life. He is a quiet, thoughtful man. In the interview, he speaks so softly, that I had trouble to understand him.

From the half-hour preliminary meeting on Wednesday, I knew that the tragedy of his country incriminates him seriously.

As the great luminous clock in the recording room begins to run, I ask the first question: “Mr. President, why do you not resign?”

His answer: “A president should not run away from challenges, and we are here right now in front of a national challenge in Syria. The President cannot just escape from such a situation.”

For twenty minutes he answers the most unpleasant questions stressed friendly. About the opposition and the armed rebels, he expressed it more differentiated than usual. Many of the peaceful demonstrators would represent legitimate demands, he says.

I wanted to accomplish with the interview that the West get to know one of his main enemies a little bit closer.

Because after the disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq, I still hope, that our politicians will realize that negotiations are better than war.


  1. 3arabisouri says:

    ‘Should he have done this to himself’? I believe he made himself a huge favor to pass on to his heirs as a legacy of meeting the man ‘around whom everything revolves’, and everything includes the fate of the world into a World War Three and whether it’s nuclear or worse: thermonuclear.

    Something should be told to westerns: Syria can contain any western country no matter the size of that country, no country can contain Syria. Read history.

    Westerns coming with a prejudice about ‘developing’ countries, in this case Syria, well, we said time and time again: Syria is not like Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Somalia, nor like them altogether, it took westerns 16 months of intervention with all possible means to realize that, that the NATO Turkey foreign minister finally confessed after long covert operations that: Turkey failed in toppling the Syrian government by all means. US military and intelligent generals said that few months earlier.

    Why no western cameraman is allowed? Why the need of any in a one on one interview? Previously another western media ABC News made an interview with president Assad and they distorted the entire interview in a very cheap but stupid stunt, and only revealed the full contents after Syrian foreign ministry spokesperson threatened to release the full interview Syrians managed to record from the tapes of ABC News itself, read here (

    The ‘dictator’ he met is different than all the others, how about he’s not a dictator and has a full state running each in his post? Or maybe the word dictator changes meaning depends on the person targeted?

    ‘Armed terrorists entrenched behind civilians’ then the journalist blames the state troops for trying to secure the civilians from these armed terrorists: Typical NATO propaganda, wonder what the FBI would’ve done..?

    As for the ‘peaceful protests’ at the beginning, maybe they were only peaceful to the western media, but Syrians have seen their public buildings torched during those ‘peaceful protests’, police stations destroyed, army posts attacked, and foreign snipers who always pop during revolutions and shoot at both protesters and security forces to inflict strife among both and the blame game starts enrolling if not civil war. In Syria, however, there won’t be a civil war for a simple reason: The vast majority of the Syrian people whom never revolted against the state, support the state in its fight against terrorists, especially the Syrian army, police and security forces are from the same people from all over Syria and not imported from planet Mars, or elsewhere.

  2. Souri says:

    As quietly as possible, BBC world news editor Jon Williams has admitted that the coverage of last month’s Houla massacre in Syria by the world’s media and his own employers was a compendium of lies.

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