"The defendants have no chance of defending themselves."
--Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director of Human Rights Watch
An dense fog of culturally biased figurative speech blew across Syria this week when Syrians were told that their government apparently has been cracking down on dissident kangaroos, rounding them up and subjecting them to the show trials of the Supreme State Security Court.
A headline on Al-Arabiya's website [ENGLISH] proclaimed "Syria must close its kangaroo court," which shocked many unassuming Syrians because, of course, they were not aware that there were kangaroos in Syria.
The news story is based on a recently released 73-page report [Also in ENGLISH] from Human Rights Watch called "Far From Justice: Syria's Supreme State Security Court."
Said HRW's Middle East director about Syria's judicial system: "It's a kangaroo court providing judicial cover for the persecution of activists, and even ordinary citizens, by Syria's security agencies."
Incredulous Syrians responded to this news with, well, incredulity. "I didn't know we had any kangaroos," said one Syrian who asked to remain anonymous but who is in fact named Hamoudi Yousif al-Homsi. "But they can be sent to court, like us humans?! I guess I've been living in a hole."
While it's true that Mr. al-Homsi has been living in a hole, he also brings up a valid point: if this is literally about a kangaroo kerfuffle--which must be the case because there is no Arabic equivalent of kangaroo court--why is Human Rights Watch so interested?
No doubt Syrians are wondering: Where is Kangaroo Rights Watch?
The Tuque Souq is wondering: Who's this report for anyway?