Inside Syria with the BBC

Sometimes it is easy to forget that the Middle East is Europe's near abroad, it has the same relationship to Europe as central America and the Caribbean has to the U.S. (think of Turkey as playing the role of Mexico as a large regional buffer between Europe and the Arab Spring).

When it comes to Syria, the Assad regime's news black out has been particularly effective in stopping the flow of information and witness from the revolution that is gathering pace in the country.

That hasn't stopped the BBC's extraordinary reporter, Sue Lloyd-Roberts. She has been practicing journalism the old-fashioned way: building contacts inside the closed country, and occasionally smuggling herself in via the networks she has established.

This 17 minute report which aired last night on BBC's flagship current affairs program Newsnight is the fruit of her labor.

Random thought: There is a brief glimpse of a wall outside a school covered in mostly Arablic graffiti. One word written in English stands out:


The misspelling gives the word poignancy. The Syrians who have been coming out day after day since March have been free to face their doom. But still they come.

Perhaps in solidarity the folks of Occupy Wall Street and assorted other Arab Spring inspired protests might want to start wearing t-shirts and making signs with the word "Freedoom" on them.