Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Downfall of Asma al-Assad?

Asma, Rose of the Desert, as she appeared in Vogue.
Breaking News: Attempt to smuggle Assad's wife out of Syria foiled

According to Ynet.comthe Egyptian newspaper, al-Masri al-Youm, reported on Sunday that, "Sources within the Syrian opposition said that the Free Syrian Army forces managed to prevent the escape of the first lady of Syria and additional relatives through Damascus airport." The sources claimed that, "Asma Assad, her children, Bashar Assad's mother and his cousin were all in a convoy on the way to the airport when rebel forces under the command of a former senior officer in the Syrian army, blocked the their path." Does this mean that the regime's days are finally numbered?

Asma and children stand by Assad as he
pledged to defeat the conspirators opposing him.
Earlier this month she was seen attending her husband's defiant speech in front of his supporters.  As commented in the Telegraph, The presence of Mr Assad's children was an even greater act of defiance, given the family nature of the regime which he inherited from his father and which he now runs with his brother and brother-in-law. His son, Hafez, 10, is named after his father, whose coup and 30-year dictatorship created modern Syria. His daughter, Zain, is 8, and younger son Karim, 6. The children appeared confused and frightened in pictures beamed across the world from the scene.”

According to AFP's report of the event, "...Syria's First Lady is being likened to a modern-day Marie-Antoinette, drawing criticism for staying mum on a crisis that has left more than 5,000 people dead in her country.
"The British-born Asma al-Assad, who virtually disappeared from the public eye after the revolt broke out in Syria in mid-March, made a surprise appearance this week to support her husband Bashar as he spoke at a pro-regime rally.
"Pictures of the 36-year-old, all smiles with two of her children, adorned the front pages of many Arab and Western newspapers.
"'This shows that she is standing by her man, that she and him are on the same page,' said Andrew Tabler, an expert on Syria and former press adviser to local charities run by the First Lady.
"'She is clearly part of the regime.'
"'Bashar's wife and kids cheer on daddy the dictator,' one tweet scoffed."

So, here we have a comedown witnessed by the whole world. First our introduction through that preposterousVogue article just days after the Syrians took to the streets. The Assads tried to convince us of their modernity, their democratic intentions. That story has vanished from the magazine's website. She even fooled Harvard. After not hearing about her for a while, it seemed that she escaped to London. Again, silence. Then a report of her frozen stare when asked by aid workers how she felt about the massacres taking place under her husband’s command. Then her reappearance to watch Assad defy the whole world. Now this. While earlier I had a huge sense of schadenfreude, now I feel some pity. What was she thinking? 

1 comment:

  1. The Vogue puff piece on Asma Assad by Joan Juliet Buck, though scrubbed from the Vogue website can be found elsewhere on the Web, reports that Asma's younger brother, Dr. Feras Akhras, a British educated physician (laparoscopic surgeon) set up and worked at his medical clinic in Syria. At the time of the Vogue article his Facebook page was still up and active. No mention of him since ...


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