She’s known for taking selfies, being snapped on holiday and for being one half of the “world’s most talked about couple,” but in recent days, Kim Kardashian has diverted her fans’ attention to something far more serious.
On Twitter, a trending hashtag on Syria has now been bolstered after Kim waded into the war debate with tweets calling for awareness over the ancient Armenian Christian village of Kassab. Kim is of Armenian descent through her father Robert Kardashian.
“If you don’t know what’s going on in Kessab please google it ... As an Armenian, I grew up hearing so many painful stories,” Kim wrote in a March 30 tweet, using an alternate spelling of the village’s name.
“Please let’s not let history repeat itself!!!!!! Let’s get this trending!!!! #SaveKessab #ArmenianGenocide,” she wrote.
Hashtag used by Assad loyalists
But while the star believed she was merely raising awareness about the Armenian cause, Twitter users accused her of supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead.
The confusion ensued after it appeared that the #SaveKessab hashtag was previously being used on the microblogging site to spread false claims by Assad loyalists, who have said Syrian opposition fighters had desecrated the village’s churches and slaughtered residents, according to the Associated Press.
Kassab’s residents fled after rebels seized their village on March 23, as part of a rebel offensive in the coastal Syrian province of Latakia, Assad’s ancestral heartland, “There are no credible reports that rebels killed any residents, or that they inflicted major damage on churches,” the AP reported.
Still, Kardashian’s tweets and use of the hashtag are just one example of how the Syrian war is being waged on media, “with both supporters of Assad and those opposing his rule using selectively chosen videos and photos, sometimes faked, recycled or altered, to support their grievances,” the news agency reported.
Another part of her tweet has also been widely discussed, her use of the hashtag #ArmenianGenocide, suggesting she was also linking the plight of most of Kassab’s 2,000 residents to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman forces in the early 20th century.
In response to the tweets, Kardashian’s publicist Ina Treciokas said Kardashian was “just voicing her support for Armenians” and said she had no additional comment.
Just like a prayer
Other celebrities have also taken to social media over the course of the Syrian conflict to vent their views.
Madonna struck a pose on the Syrian crisis last September, opposing U.S. military intervention in the crisis-torn country which was being discussed at the time.
“US stay out of Syria!” read a photo of a hand-written message posted on the pop diva’s Instagram page.
In less than 19 hours, Madonna’s appeal garnered about 30,000 ‘likes’ from users of the popular photo-sharing service and sparked a discussion on the page
Madonna’s post came amid a stunt by American actress Alyssa Milano, when she tweeted this week about a “sex tape” which intended to redirect her followers’ attention to the Syrian crisis.
The 40-year-old star of “Who's the Boss?” appeared stripping down while trying to record her sex tape with a man.
As the couple adjusted the camera over a bed sprinkled with rose petals, and right before they got busy, the camera shifts to a television screen with a news report about Syria.
More than 150,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011, the Syrian Observatory for Human rights said in a new figure released on Tuesday.