If you happened to be watching the news on December 9th, 2015, you may have noticed a certain independent journalist blowing the whistle on Syria. With tired eyes and a voice heavy with the burden of her experiences, she was seated with three other people at a table, mic in front of her, a modest glass of water beside her. She was addressing the United Nations in regards to a view of the conflict that is not commonly heard: The Pro-Syrian Government side.
This activist has been the subject of intense criticism from many outlets, much of what would be considered the “Main-Stream Media”. This is because a large number of these outlet’s funding and loyalties can be traced to the very people that she opposes. The same people taking you for a ride on Syria.
Her name is Eva Karene Bartlett. Her experience in the Middle East begins in mid 2007, where she touched down in the West Bank. She was fed up with watching the war crimes perpetrated by occupation forces known as the Israeli “Defense” Force (IDF), and the colonists aka the Zionist settlers, who are occupying more and more Palestinian territory. Eva volunteered with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led human rights group committed to non-violent activism for
the end of Palestinian/Israeli apartheid. (It is important to note, that Eva is no longer affiliated with ISM, citing members who are anti-Syrian propagandists within their organization.)
Eva started recording her experiences in the West Bank on her website https://opt2007.wordpress.com/ in April of 2007. You can follow her experience month to month by appending the value of year and month to the blog URL (This one is May 2007, for instance): https://opt2007.wordpress.com/2007/05/
From the beginning of her adventure, Eva suffered through a similar, grueling reality that Palestinians have been facing for decades now. The focus of her work was never to put herself up on a pedestal, but to highlight the predicament on the ground for the world to see through impartial journalism.
During one situation in August of 2007, Eva attempted to prevent an unwarranted arrest of a Palestinian from the village of Bil’in during one of many protests against the wall put up by the occupying Israeli government. While struggling to keep the man from being taken by the IDF, she was kicked in the head and tear gassed was deployed at their feet by the soldiers attempting to separate them.
Only a few weeks later, on the eve of September 2007, she was arrested along with three others after liberating an illegal road block put in place by occupation forces in a little known village called Saraa on the outskirts of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. After the Palestinians there endured hours of moving heavy stone blocks under an intense summer sun, a military bulldozer had arrived to move them back. Eva and friends were arresting attempting to stop the bulldozer.
This video is from that day, where you can see Eva in handcuffs atop one of stones.
An excerpt from her time in detention following the video:
“We were taken to the Ariel colony police station for further detention. From the moment of being arrested until my release
two days later, the other female international and I were kept in handcuffs and ankle shackles, only temporarily removed for
most, but not all, bathroom visits—on one occasion, we were indeed forced to use the toilet while shackled together at the
Friday night, the other female arrested and myself were not provided with a jail cell, nor with beds or blankets. With the
television on all night at a very loud volume, showing a movie that bordered on pornography and which the police would not
turn off, and with the lights on for most of the night, no place to lie down, and the chill from the air conditioning, it was
impossible to sleep. Sensory deprivation. Despite repeated requests, the police officers made no attempt to improve the
conditions, instead mocking and taunting us. The tendons at my ankles hurt, chaffed by hard-edged shackles.”
These are just some of the experiences Eva has had while in Palestine, having participated in countless more anti-occupation efforts which she actively participated in, as well as reported on. After spending eight months in the West Bank, Eva was ultimately deported by Israeli forces for her continued stand with the Palestinian people.
Once Eva had recollected herself in the following months, she would start a new blog and travel to Gaza in November of 2008 from Cyprus by boat, with the third Free Gaza Movement. She would join up once more with the ISM, accompanying fishermen and farmers who were routinely targeted by the Israeli army. During that first month, they witnessed first hand the authoritarian strong arm of the Israeli military, who were abducting fishermen and peace-workers.
After moving inland, she spent time working with farmers in Gaza.
Eva was there on the ground during the 2008-2009 Gaza Massacre, perpetrated by government forces. She was volunteering with the Palestinian Red Crescent at the time. Much of the reporting that she did was done while riding in ambulances, and inside the hospitals that injured Palestinians were brought to seeing first hand, the devastating effects of genocidal apartheid. The In Gaza blog has a special section made just for outlining this terrible atrocity that occurred between December 2008 and January of 2009.
You can hear more about her experience in Palestine direct from a talk she gave in this video.
For a brief, but true history on Palestine, watch this excellent documentary entitled “How Palestine Became Colonized” by Abby Martin with the Empire Files.
After spending a cumulative of three years in Gaza, Eva focused her attention to where a shift in imperial interventionist policy had taken place against the country of Syria. The exact reason for why the conflict began is shrouded in numerous political conspiracies; some narrative, some factual. The fog of war surrounding this topic was what engaged the international community, including Eva, to question the armament of ISIS by Western Powers and foreign interventionism heralded by opposition exhibiting multiple shifts in title and branding through out the duration of the conflict.
Eva had followed the conflict since it’s shadowy inception. In June 2012, she created an e-mail list of like minded, pro-Syrian political activists who stood for secular, Syrian sovereignty and anti-intervention. In March 2013, she returned to Canada and began to meet with Syrian-Canadians that told her stories of how the supposed revolution in Syria was really a staged uprising, foreign-sponsored to overthrow the Ba’athist government for not cooperating with the Western geopolitical agenda in the Middle East. A List of Eva’s work on Syria from her website
Her first visit to Syria was in April of 2014, having researched the conflict and making contacts in the cause for a year prior. She arrived with an international peace delegation that toured around Damascus, Latakia, and Homs; meeting it’s denizens and taking in eye-witness accounts from the common folk, internal (unarmed) opposition leaders, and religious leaders of the Christian & Muslim faith. Eva stayed in Damascus after the delegation for an additional two weeks, independently taking to the city and reporting her travels on her blog.
When her visa expired, she returned to Lebanon and applied at the Syrian embassy for a journalist visa, waiting over one month in Lebanon while her visa application was processed. She continued reporting from Beirut, and was there covering the May 28th election at the Syrian Embassy.
Granted a journalist visa, Eva returned independently to Syria in June 2014 to the old city of Homs, where she began her more rigorous work figuring out the untold side of conflict from city residents. She also visited recently-liberated Maaloula, seeing the destruction meted out by armed groups of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army and other factions.
To see more of Eva’s work, visit these links:
Eva’s newest Blog
American Herald Tribune
Strategic Culture Foundation
Russia Today Op-Edge
Inter Press Services
FORMERLY: Zero Anthropology
Eva on Twitter
Syria Solidarity Movement International (Eva is member of Steering Commitee)
The Syria Solidarity Movement International
Hands Off Syria Coalition
Important Links/Lists for Consideration
These two lists are from Eva’s blog, great way to get an overview of her experience in Syria.