Assad’s Propaganda: Summer, Palmyra, and Mourinho

What do Jose Mourinho, ancient artefacts, and tourism have in common?

At first glance, not much, but on investigation we find that they all play a role in the continuous, if somewhat confused, campaign of propaganda by the Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad.

A story that emerged recently, that immediately jumped out at me as somewhat strange, was the news that Jose Mourinho – of Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid fame – had been targeted as the next manager for the Syrian football team.

Not one to shy away from controversy, Mourinho was said to be “honoured” at the approach, but ultimately rejected the job offer.

And whilst the audacious bid to land the “special one” came as a shock, in reality, we should not be too surprised when we see this move in the wider context of Assad’s propaganda machine.

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Another Incentive To Ink

It has been over 14 months since my last tattoo, and this is now the longest dry-spell I have had since I first started getting them. Admittedly I have been rather short on money recently but as well as my desire, I now have another reason to get some more artwork.

The Cambridge Clinic connected with me via Twitter the other day, and they have very kindly sent me a free sample of their product, Fade The Itch. As you may have guessed it is aftercare treatment for new tattoos and I plan to make the most of this sample by applying it to my next piece of ink.

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What’s On Your Mind?

Since it’s creation social media, and social networking sites, have been connecting people across the world. They were created  in order to make the world smaller, and to bring people together. Facebook and Twitter, and before them Bebo and Myspace, existed so that millions of people could speak with one another, share ideas and beliefs, thoughts and stories, exchange and promote photos of themselves and their best moments. They have become virtual communities where everyone has a voice, and nobody has to be alone.

There is a darker side to social networking though, and through no fault of it’s own, it has now become a cause for concern in many areas. The anonymity allowed in forums and comment sections allows a freedom of speech whereby any message can be promoted. Hate, racism, homophobia, sexism and more. The incredible freedom of the internet itself and the connections that can be made online can lead to tragic consequences. Anything and everything can be found online, from hired hitmen, to illegal substances and from animal cruelty, to child pornography. As ever with such wonderful, boundary dissolving innovations, the gloss and sheen is soon lost due to unintended use and darker desires.

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