Around the same time that the United Nations reported that the death toll in Syria had risen north of 5,000, The New York Times published an anonymous dispatch from Damascus, where not everything is as peaceful as it seems. Sourced to a "young writer living in Syria’s capital city" whose name was withheld "for security reasons," the firsthand account serves both as an update on the current situation in the troubled country and a call-to-arms for the media outlets that have been missing the point. Anonymous writes:
Observers often comment that the Syrian uprising has not reached Damascus. It is true that businesses and restaurants are open in central Damascus, that the traffic is as messy and congested as ever, that fashionable shopping malls bustle in the early evening with well-coiffed teenagers who descend from chauffeured luxury cars.
Unlike Homs, or Deir Ezzor, or Deraa, there are no tanks in the streets of Damascus, not even the ones painted patchy blue in a flimsy attempt to disguise the army as police. But the myth of Damascus’ sustained invincibility is just that -- a myth. The signs of turmoil in the Syrian capital may be subtle, but they are nonetheless alarming.
What follows is an eloquently written and quietly haunting portrait of a city with struggling to keep its composure. The account comes less than a week after Barbara Walters took fire for going easy on Syria's Bashar al-Assad in an ABC Interview. "We don't kill our people," Assad said. "No government in the world kills its people unless it's led by crazy person." Even though Walters seemed to let the answer stand, the White House was more than willing to identify the hypothetical crazy person Assad said doesn't exist. A White House spokesperson said, "Make no mistake, the increase in armed resistance is Assad’s fault and Assad’s fault alone."