Yes, my name is Maha Ghazal. Some of you may have heard it recently, when they violated my privacy in my previous workplace. Or maybe it rings a bell due to my modest efforts to leave a mark -even if simple- in the press world. I have a name registered in the personnel records of “Syria TV,” my former workplace. But no one provided the writer with my name in the clarifying statement issued by the TV station to express their side on the violation, but rather the writer simply dubbed me “one of the workers.”
I have a name that may have been erased from the executive director’s memory of the“Fadaat” Media company, the owner of Syria TV. He mentioned me in a Facebook post as “Employee 1,” and then hurled malicious, unrealistic, and irrational accusations against me. He attentively followed his post by deleting all the comments that dismissed his claims or even discussed them.
Yes, my name is Maha Ghazal, a journalist and a member in the Turkey-based League of Arab Journalists and House of Arab Media Professionals, and the head of the quality control unit where I revised most of the station’s materials and programs and gave my feedback before and after broadcasting them for nearly a year, in one of the media outlets that the executive director of “Fadaat” is proud of, even though he later neglected my name and work, brushing them off his post, and turning me into a number that mimics those numbers that were placed on the detainees’ corpses in the Caesar photos.
Part of my psychological healing that I feel today was due to the fact that I got rid of the worry that one of the perpetrators would blackmail me again;
This is the second time that my privacy was violated, as the first time was in the “Palestine” branch in February 2012. The breach took place on the plea of insulting Bashar al-Assad. This time the breach was due to a similar accusation, according to the finance and administrative manager in Syria TV during a public meeting with the Television crew.
By all means, I am not telling my story here to make an analogy, as no one, whatever his wrong deeds may be, would be as criminal as the bloodthirsty tyrant of the age, Bashar al-Assad, or one of his security intelligence branches. But rather to shed more light on the severity of the violation I had experienced, and the mechanism of its justification by the perpetrators and their supervisors.
More strikingly, the editor of the “Syria TV” statement seemed to be an outsider and I am pretty sure he was. Since all the previous statements -which offended a large number of people- were the same and were drafted outside the TV station, resembling the reports of political parties that were sent to the media in the despotic states. On the other hand, the best-case scenario would be that the report was drafted hastily, and in some cases, the editor may have deliberately overlooked the information he knew and replaced them with other misleading information. I have never filed a complaint against the foundation for the invasion of my privacy. Rather, the general manager found out about the breach while I was blackmailed in front of him, consequently, he investigated this matter further. We could conclude that the writer of the statement, intended to neutralize the blackmail crime that was the reason I was hospitalized and was kept in the intensive care for two consecutive days. Perhaps this neutralization was to protect the perpetrator who blackmailed and intimidated me. And maybe to make light of the gravity of such crimes. He only mentioned the breach, which no longer can be concealed. Typically, it was after the editor of the statement highlighted that Syria TV adopts the Syrians’ aspiration for freedom and dignity.
Meanwhile, after a meaningless rhetorical assertion on the workers’ rights without any gender discrimination or preferential treatment, even though my privacy was violated and I was blackmailed by a legal person inside the Foundation and I was given the sack without any insurance, the statement and its writer condemned me for speaking up about the series of violations I was subjected to, after the general manager and the chairman of the board of directors failed to reach any decision over a month that could save my rights as well as personnel rights in the TV by holding the perpetrators of such crimes accountable. Those crimes that would be committed again had I preferred to keep my mouth shut. As we know, the criminal would perpetuate his crime in case the victim says nothing.
In the end, the writer of the statement -without considering my record- has accused me of ill-conduct and committing wrongdoings in the workplace, coupled with the post content of the “Fadaat” director, who was negligent or unaware of the fact that the TV has rewarded me two months ago in appreciation of my work and efforts. Indeed, I was the worker who had no notice, warning, or disciplinary notice in her record. But what is the use? Today, I came to be one of “the workers” in their empire, with no name, description, or history other than what they decide and write for me. I have no right except what they shall deem appropriate for me. Indeed, I was a loud and discordant note in their symphony that needs to be muted.
They blamed me for speaking in a feminist spirit, for calling attention to the unfair treatment of women. Without first asking themselves would anybody dare to violate a man’s privacy, would anyone dare to blackmail him, was everyone really treated with no gender discrimination. Naturally, I could recall dozens of situations related to discrimination, the insults to all women by one of the employees because of the trouble my story has stirred up wasn’t the last one. Not to mention the flagrant inequalities in the number of women and men as workers, correspondents, and even guests, even though I brought this matter up several times.
It seems that before and after the statement, the people in the administration of “Fadaat” intend to deepen the approach of intimidating the workers by exploiting the fact that the TV is their only means to earn a living, and that they had the power and money so that they could pay no heed to their judicial record that is depleted with losses of all claims filed against journalists who criticized their methods, or of former workers who their ill-fated luck and their need to work threw them in their way. They returned to the threat of taking legal proceedings against me for slander, although dozens of materials published through the media platforms of the Fadaat foundation were talking about the necessity not to be silent about such violations, more specifically those committed to women, along with other materials that criticized the intruding and spying networks.
In this respect, I would like to emphasize the fact that part of my psychological healing that I feel today was due to getting rid of the worry that one of those perpetrators would blackmail me again; I felt safe amidst the flow of support and sympathy from you, and that the criminal is too weak to be able to face all this solidarity. Also, my social and emotional circle that surrounded me and I was afraid that it would collapse, was much stronger than before, and even much broader and bigger than I thought.
I have never defamed anyone in my life, I was only trying to protect myself from being blackmailed and intimidated. I was dealing with the revolutionary spirit in me with the utmost care, so that it would not fade away or get misshaped.