Letters: On Syria

Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish read emails from listeners about an interview with a Syrian official.

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It's time for your letters. And we begin with this from Friday's program.


ZOUHEIR JABBOUR: In the time of computer, you can fabricate and falsify whatever you like and go to Al Jazeera and go to Al Arabiya, and you can see all the fabrication and this unprecedented campaign against Syria.

SIEGEL: That is Syria's charge d'affaires here in Washington, Zouheir Jabbour. On Friday, he spoke with our co-host Melissa Block. And that conversation bothered many of our listeners.

David Lane of Santa Barbara, California, took us to task. He writes this: I was very upset with this interview and saddened that you gave this man the opportunity to spread his lies.


Jabbour vehemently defended his government's brutal crackdown on dissent that has killed perhaps 7,000 people, including two Western journalists. French President Nicholas Sarkozy called the deaths last week of American-born reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik murder. To that, Syria's charge d'affaires told us this.


JABBOUR: He can say, of course, he can say whatever he likes. But this is absolutely fabricated and un-based, you know, information.


Do you deny that they were killed by Syrian shells?

JABBOUR: Absolutely. Absolutely not by Syrian army.

SIEGEL: That sent Craig Cadman of Sioux Rapids, Iowa to his keyboard. He writes: I wanted to absolutely reach through the radio and slap that guy.

CORNISH: While many of you clearly felt the same, you also praised Melissa. Jeff Ward of New York City writes: Hats off to Melissa Block for keeping her cool during the interview with the Syrian charge d'affaires. She let him lie, profusely and transparently, about the killings of Syrian civilians, while applying the calm, persistent pressure of reality with her questions.

SIEGEL: Please, keep your letters coming. You can write to us at NPR.org. Just click on Contact Us.


SIEGEL: This is NPR News.

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