Syrian regime exploits child talent show contestant
While large parts of the Arab world suffer unspeakable violence, television talent shows such as Arab Idol, The Voice and more recently The Voice Kids offer light relief and have become very popular in these turbulent times.
In addition to the musical talent exhibited by the contestants, perhaps these talent shows offer Arab viewers a rare chance to cast a vote that is of some consequence.
Over the weekend, Ghina Bouhamdane, a 9-year-old young Syrian contestant on The Voice Kids became an instant hit when she innocently burst into tears while singing, "Give us our childhood".
However, in an attempt to exploit public sympathy for the young contestant, the Syrian regime uploaded a video of Ghina on the Syrian Presidency's official Facebook page singing the same song in front of a crowd of school children with Asma al-Assad, wife of Bashar al-Assad sitting in the front row.
"She sang for childhood and peace in spring 2015 in from of Asma al-Assad," read the caption under the regime video.
"With her voice and tears she has sent the message of Syrian children whose happiness and celebrations have been assassinated by terrorism".
By uploading the video that is purported to be from April 2015 and clearly as part of a school assembly, the Syrian regime is attempting to exploit public sympathy for a nine-year-old child to improve its image.
It is also a regime attempt to whitewash its killing of countless children across Syria through indiscriminate bombing and inhumane sieges imposed on defiant communities.