US independent activist to ST: Humanity owes Syria a debt it can never repay

If someone had told her seven years ago she would be traveling often to a country in the heart of the Middle East and thinking of it as her second home, she would have laughed it off as ridiculous. But as she researched the country and situation and saw with growing anger and resentment how malicious her country's government actions were (against Syria and other countries throughout our history), she felt she had to do anything she could - anything that was moral, ethical and legal anyway - to help share the truth or never consider herself a true human again.

 Mrs. Janice Kortkamp, who introduces herself on her face Book page as an independent activist regarding Syria and the Middle East, has travelled around Syria six times since May 2016 and she never could have imagined how her interest in Syria would end up as it has!

 She told the ‘Syria Times’ e-newspaper that the most important thing that first attracted her to Syria and wanting to get to know something about it, was watching an interview with President Bashar al-Assad actually in November of 2012.

 “Up until the moment I started watching the interview of President Bashar al-Assad, I knew nothing of Syria other than what the "news" media was telling me - which I believed at the time was the truth. However after only a few minutes of watching that interview I became intrigued by what your leader was saying. His rational and calm but not cold demeanor, his ability to describe things in ways I could understand, while at the same time being precise in his answers, made me want to know more. That's all it took for me to become kind of obsessed with Syria” said Mrs. Kortkamp, who has two sons and lives in Virginia.

 Her decision to defend Syria is probably the strangest thing that ever happened to her! She is not a person of causes though she respects people who are.


 “From that day [the day she watched President al-Assad’s interview] on I tried to learn as much as possible about the society and culture, people groups, history, geography/topography, cuisine, flora and fauna - you name it - as well as about the war. What really changed my life though was getting to know Syrians online through Facebook, Skype, etc. I think this factor is of historic significance: that technology allowed normal people to share with one another and ask questions real time thus allowing people in a war zone to speak directly to someone like me,” she stated.

 The activist went on to say: “Credit must also be given here for the Syrian government's willingness to keep those lines of communication open even when it was often used against them. Throughout the war though, Syria seems to have always held onto the idea that "the truth will out" - that in spite of all the lies and propaganda, the online world at least would eventually see the realities of the conflict and this has proven to be the case.”

 Alternate news media to provide honest reporting

 She underscored that the incapability of the western Media outlets of reporting on the war in Syria (and other wars) in an objective way created the need for alternate news media sites, independent journalists and even citizen journalists to do the work of the news media and provide honest reporting.

 “The traditional, "professional" media has proven itself not only incapable of reporting on this (and other wars) in an objective way but oftentimes outlets have been openly complicit and in collusion with terrorist groups. This has created the need for alternate news media sites, independent journalists and even citizen journalists to do the work of the news media and provide honest reporting. Unfortunately because of the total blackout by mainstream media of virtually all independent sources (with only a couple of exceptions) the message still has not been heard by the majority of American,” affirmed the activist,  who calls herself as a "journal-ist" as opposed to a traditional journalist because she is more of a diarist than a reporter.

 Mrs. Kortkamp has shared the journey of discovery she has been on in Syria with her friends on Face Book and the response has been overwhelming, surprising and very encouraging.

 “I got on Facebook to start only to be able to communicate with Syrians and others who were talking about the war, but as I began sharing my friend's list grew. I've always tried to write as though I was talking to myself seven years ago ... someone with good will towards others but ignorant of facts,” she said.

Asked about the difference between her first visit to Syria and the 6th one, the activist replied: “I was thinking about this a lot on my last trip actually! While every trip has been unique and unforgettable, there is a particularly huge difference between my first visit and this latest one. Even though I had spent four years and thousands of hours in research before ever going, on my first time there I was like a toddler just learning to walk and talk. Syria is infinitely complex and fascinating and so much of that trip was spent in wide-eyed wonder just getting a feel for the country as well as for the tragic consequences of the conflict. During my sixth visit I felt like perhaps I have achieved the level of kindergartner, comfortable being out and about by myself yet more aware than ever of how much there is to learn; I've only seen the tip of the iceberg.”

 Goals of her 1st visit to Syria

 She made it clear that goals of her first visit to Syria were: 1) to confirm with my own eyes that the reality on the ground matched what I had been learning through my own research and from Syrians living  there and elsewhere; 2) to meet and talk with as many "normal" Syrians as possible from as many different people groups and backgrounds as possible and hear their stories; and 3) to hopefully act as a kind of "good will ambassador" to everyone I met so they would know that there are Americans who know the truth and love and support them in their fight against terrorism and the western countries' attempts to control their country.

 Moreover, the US activist condemned the western mainstream media’s silence about the continuous crimes of the terrorist and coalition forces in Syria, including the terrorists' chemical attack on citizens in Aleppo and the daily aggressions of US-led coalition against citizens in Der Ez-zour province.

 “The western main stream media either remains silent about the continuous crimes of the terrorist and coalition forces or they manage to distort reality to such an extent that they blame Syria, Russia or Iran for them. This has been true of course from the beginning of the violence in March 2011. Since that time the terrorist "rebels" have been white washed (often wearing white helmets) as "freedom fighters" by the west no matter how many villages they massacred, people they kidnapped and tortured, and bombs they used to kill civilians, while the efforts of the Syrian Arab Army to defend the people from the terrorists have been described continually as "war crimes", she stressed.

 Mrs. Kortkamp added: “I don't believe any other conflict has revealed the absolute hypocrisy of the policies and actions of the west more than this dirty war against Syria.”


 Furthermore, she underscored the need to stop the aggression on Syria, affirming that US Administration has been acting as mercenary thug for Israel in direct opposition to Americans’ own interests.

  “I would like to tell US Administration and western leaders, "STOP!!!!!!" As an American and as a human being, this aggression must end. Not only have the US wars based on lies just since 9/11 resulted in approximately 2 million people dead, around 10 million displaced, several countries being destroyed or nearly so, and a huge increase in the number of terrorists and their crimes - but they're also destroying America's economy and any respect or honor we might have still had in the world prior.”

 “These wars are total failures by all rational measurements. We've been acting as mercenary thugs for Israel in direct opposition to our own interests. We aren't able to educate our children without forcing them into terrible debt for their university yet there are always more and more funds budgeted for the war machine so it can go kill young people 5000 miles away who also want to get an education and live productive, peaceful lives,” the American activist said, pointing out that the accepted definition of insanity is to repeat the same actions again and again thinking you'll get a different result.

 “I have come to understand that the American military/intelligence/industrial complex desires to bring chaos, large scale death and destruction, and permanent military occupations. That entity is without morals and human feeling but that's not the insane part ... what is insane is the American public's insistence on believing known liars, war profiteers, "war sells news" media, and terrorist supporters so they can keep deluding themselves that the US is "the good guy" in all this in spite of the obvious pattern of manipulation through propaganda. While I write this, reports show that as much as $21 TRILLION dollars are unaccounted for by the Pentagon from 1998-2015,” Mrs. Kortkamp stated.

 She concluded by saying: “While Syria has been defending its families from hundreds of thousands of terrorist mercenary proxies, something huge has been happening on a global scale as a result. Over the course of this conflict many of what seemed to be unshakable established powers have started to crumble and fall; and because Syria has stood its ground and for the truth, it has inspired millions of people around the world to do the same. Humanity owes Syria a debt it can never repay.


Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour




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