March 4, 2012
What an idiot.
SYRIA - MRS ASSAD LAYS INTO HUSBAND'S BUTCHERY
By Jonathan Hoffman
March 4, 2012
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March 2, 2012, 7:30 pm
Video Imagines Syrian First Lady’s Outrage Over Gaza War Applied to Killing in Homs
By ROBERT MACKEY
A video blogger has remixed footage of an interview Asma al-Assad gave to CNN in 2009, in which Syria’s British-born first lady decried the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, to make it seem as if she was speaking out against the violent crackdown on dissent currently under way in Syria.
The remix posted on YouTube cuts together outraged comments from Mrs. Assad in 2009 (including, “the barbaric assault on innocent civilians has been horrific,” and, “this is the 21st century, where in the world could this happen?”) and video shot last week of the Syrian government’s bombardment of Homs, the city her family is originally from. (Readers should be aware that the clip includes some extremely graphic video of a dead child with a gaping head wound.)
It is not clear who made the remix, but it was uploaded to YouTube this week by an anonymous video blogger who had posted video of a protest in the Syrian capital, Damascus, in January. Before that, the same person uploaded a series of brief comedy sketches, apparently shot in Britain.
As The Lede noted last year, President Bashar al-Assad’s bloody response to the protest movement started just after a flattering profile of Mrs. Assad was published in Vogue. That profile has since been removed from Vogue’s Web site, but it began by calling Mrs. Assad, a former investment banker, “glamorous, young, and very chic — the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies.” The article also featured this startling description of how much input into decision-making the president and his wife gave their three young children:
Asma al-Assad empties a box of fondue mix into a saucepan for lunch. The household is run on wildly democratic principles. “We all vote on what we want, and where,” she says. The chandelier over the dining table is made of cut-up comic books. “They outvoted us three to two on that.”
As Noreen Malone pointed out in Slate at the time, “while Vogue was pilloried for its puff piece, this was neither the first nor the last time Asma has been treated to Western flattery. See, for example, a 2009 Huffington Post slide show on ‘Asma al-Assad: Syria’s First Lady and All-Natural Beauty.’ ”
Mrs. Assad’s silence over the atrocities carried out by her husband’s security forces has been a subject of fascination to the press in Britain, where she was born and raised as the daughter of a distinguished Syrian cardiologist.
In October, London’s Independent reported that Mrs. Assad had appeared unfazed by firsthand accounts of what was happening in the county from aid workers who met with her. “We told her about the killing of protesters,” one man told the newspaper. “We told her about the security forces attacking demonstrators. About them taking wounded people from cars and preventing people from getting to hospital… there was no reaction. She didn’t react at all. It was just like I was telling a normal story, something that happens every day.”
Five weeks ago, a correspondent for The Times of London asked, “Has Syria’s Princess Diana Become Its Marie Antoinette?”
While Mrs. Assad has been largely out of view for months, in January she showed up at a rally of her husband’s supporters in Damascus. This week, she was shown on state television, smiling and laughing as she voted alongside her husband in a referendum staged by his government even as the deadly assault on pro-democracy protesters continued across the country.