Selfless heroes or self-serving terrorists? Social media reacts to White Helmets Oscar win

Published February 27th, 2017 - 09:36 GMT
Syrian civil defense volunteers, known as the White Helmets, search for survivors following regime airstrike on the opposition-held neighbourhood of Tishrin on Feb. 22, 2017. [AFP]
Syrian civil defense volunteers, known as the White Helmets, search for survivors following regime airstrike on the opposition-held neighbourhood of Tishrin on Feb. 22, 2017. [AFP]

The Syrian conflict could be considered one of the most polarizing subjects of our time. Last night and in the early hours of the morning in the Middle East, that became highlighted on Twitter once again.

A documentary about The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, won an Oscar at the 2017 Academy Awards. Of course, people immediately went to social media to voic their opinions on the matter.

Some were promoting the Syrian search and rescue team, who are like firefighters but deal with the aftermath of bombs and shelling in addition to fighting flames:

From the Arab world, this user wanted to send his congrats to the men of the White Helmets (he must not have realized that there are women involved in the efforts, too):

 

 

 

 

We congratulate the heroes of the Civil Defense, those great men who have saved thousands of souls, on winning the Oscar for Best Short Documentary. 

Meanwhile, Muslim Twitter was overjoyed because the group’s motto is a Quranic verse:

However, there was also a proliferance of tweets linking the group to al-Qaeda:

And, finally, there was someone taking a playful jab at Trump’s immigration ban:

Are their search and rescue missions staged, or are they the heroes that should have won the Nobel Peace Prize? If they have rescued thousands of civilians but some members also tied to jihadist groups, what does that mean? Whether or not The White Helmets are all real, all fake, or linked to terrorism are difficult questions to answer. Viewing the group with skeptical admiration and being open to the good and the bad seems to be the best way to approach the matter. 

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