Omar is a pacifist anti-regime activist.
The video is described as having been filmed in a neighborhood that’s under siege by the army, where there’s no food coming in, and no one is allowed out. You would think that in a situation like this, the residents would be starved and weak. But that’s really not the sense I get from these two men in the video: they look healthy, well-dressed, and cleanly-shaved. They really don’t look like they live in a zone where fierce fighting is taking place. I also noticed that they are cooking the cat in a pot that looks quite new.
The last part of the video struck me as odd: the man eats a little bit of what is in his spoon – supposedly, the cat – then puts it back down in the pot, though there is still meat in the spoon. This is really not behaviour I would expect from a starved man.
There are other strange details in the video. The footage, which is edited in several parts, doesn’t include any wide shots, making it impossible to identify the place where it was filmed – and whether this is indeed a neighborhood where fighting is taking place. The title of the video is also uncharacteristically vague for Syrian activists’ video, describing the location as only “south” of Damascus. It is also interesting to note that the scene in which the cat is killed seems to have been edited out of the video.
The video was posted online on October 28. The very next day, October 29, was “National Cat Day” in the United States, which aims to promote the adoption of stray cats. If those who filmed these images wanted to create a buzz in the United States, they couldn’t have chosen a better day.
Whether or not this video is staged, what is certain is that several neighborhoods south of Damascus are seeing violent clashes between the Syrian army and rebels. Last weekend, hundreds of people were evacuated from the suburb of Moadamiyet al-Sham
during a temporary ceasefire. According to the BBC, several of these people had to be transported on stretchers because they were so weak from malnourishment. Several videos filmed in southern suburbs also show extremely skinny children, visibly suffering from malnourishment.