The East Aleppo Syndrome

21.12.2016 - Pressenza London

The East Aleppo Syndrome
Some inhabitants of East Aleppo refuse the help of the Syrian government.

By Thierry Meyssan

After four and a half years of war, the population of East Aleppo was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army, with help from Hezbollah, Russia and Iran. This victory was greeted with joy by the majority of the 120,000 inhabitants freed and documented by the State. But only the majority.

Strangely, although Syria is offering them food, health care and temporary housing, certain inhabitants of East Aleppo declare that they «do not trust the State». What are they afraid of? They have not been arrested, and are, on the contrary, being welcomed as children of the homeland who have long been prisoners of the enemy.

It’s as if they had forgotten the freedom they enjoyed before the «Arab Spring». And as if nothing had happened over the last four years, they recite the discourse of Al-Jazeera in 2011. They claim that the Republic is a dictatorship, that it tortures children, that it massacres Sunnis, etc.

For the first time, we are observing, at the level of a city, a psychological phenomenon that is already well-known at the individual scale. Just as a beaten child or wife will sometimes defend the cruel father or husband and justify his behaviour, so certain inhabitants of East Aleppo are now using the language of the jihadists who were oppressing them.

In 1973, a Swedish psychiatrist, Nils Bejerot, analysed the shock imposed on the clients of a bank who were held hostage by criminals during an armed attack. The affair became a nightmare. Two policemen were wounded, one of them seriously. Prime Minister Olof Palme attempted to reason with the criminals who were threatening to kill their prisoners. Under terrible pressure, the hostages chose not to revolt, but to try to accommodate their captors in order to escape probable death. As the situation wore on, they ended up by speaking the same language as the criminals. They attempted to dissuade the police from making an assault, and one of the women actually fell in love with one of the criminals. This is what came to be known as the «Stockholm Syndrome», from the name of the city where the events took place.

Finally, the police used anaesthetic gas, and managed to arrest the bandits and save the hostages. Although their emprisonment had lasted only six days, the hostages suffered from this syndrome to the point where they refused to give testimony during the trial which followed, and the young woman continued her relationship with the bandit during his incarceration.

Last year, clinical psychologist Saverio Tomasella demonstrated that the «Stockholm Syndrome» is «the mark of an extremely serious invasion of the inner life of the human being who has directly, and powerlessly, experienced the theft of his or her subjective identity».

We should therefore not believe that the few inhabitants of East Aleppo who are suffering from this syndrome will quickly reconnect with the real world. We should on the contrary offer them total security and once again show great patience. Even though we must first offer help to our soldiers and all those who resisted, these civilians are, above all, our compatriots.

 

Reproduced under Creative Commons License

Source : “The East Aleppo Syndrome”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 20 December 2016, www.voltairenet.org/article194666.html

Categories: International, International issues, Middle East
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