Global Migration & Politics
Analysis and commentary on the politics of the Middle East, of the power games that defines the region, and the economic, religious and ethnic problems the region is often facing.

The art of spooning with a dictator

Recently, it provided the Syrian Presidential Asma Al-Assad interview to a Russian news channel. The first interview for eight years. A beautiful woman, highly educated and eloquent, born and raised in London by Syrian parents. During the interview, the presiding lady touched his own affairs, his work for charity and to improve the conditions for the country’s youth. The war and its many horrors were also discussed, albeit not entirely in the depths one could have wanted.

Fair enough, generally speaking, interviews with heads of state and their wives are rarely particularly profound, and certainly not critical. So you could hardly expect heart blood served on a silver platter. The interview itself was therefore not very interesting in itself, other than the actual news value, that Mrs Assad now suddenly appeared on the screen.

A woman without knowledge?

& apos; -conflict “> More newspapers have subsequently discussed her TV interview. And if she even knows about all the assaults her husband has committed against her country’s civilian population. I honestly think that the approach to understanding Asma al-Assad is wrong. Of course, she knows what’s going on in Syria. I also think that is a strange way to assess. First of all, it’s an underestimation of the woman’s intelligence. Of course, she is absolutely aware of everything that’s going on.

In that interview, Asma Al-Assad also did not hide from her being fully aware of the many killing of civilians, including the many children. She knows everything about the bombing of Aleppo, of Homs and all the other Syrian cities, the carpet bombs are torn together.

Invitation to stop her husband

In 2012, the wives sent to the British and German ambassadors in the United Nations a video to Asma al-Assad, where they urged her to put her husband to stop the attacks against the civilian population. A accompanying letter ended with a remark that she could no longer hide behind her husband.

What Asma just said to that message, the story does not matter. However, I’m pretty sure the message did not go straight on to the message board. Partly because she probably was of a different perception of the attacks on the civilian population. Partly because, she most likely did not feel, she hid behind her husband.

It is therefore also wrong to bury her that she has not stopped her husband from committing abuse. When you set her angle, you are guessing that she sees the situation with our “glasses”: her husband commits an attack on the civilian population.

Assad – a listening and caring family father

But the world probably does not look like Asma al-Assad’s eyes. When she goes to bed last night and is in a hurry with her husband, she does not do it with the dictator who has committed the greatest assault of our time to the people of her country. She goes to bed with her husband who fights jihadists, threatening Syria.

Moreover, the quite fierce interview (primarily because of the terribly sloppy Russian interviewer) reached surreal heights, then Asma al-Assad described her husband as a listening, calm and caring family. According to her optics, he throws bombs, kills and expels his citizens, apparently, is a necessary effort to protect Syria. For such is her world and her “truth”.

The interview can be seen here:

The Truth – A Strange Concept

And thus her world is as black and white as ours. For the truth is a strange concept. A size that we shape and create from our own world of concepts. The phrase “From where my world goes”, testifies to something that the truth will always be subjectively defined. The one man’s freedom fighter is the second man’s terrorist.

We can call Asma al-Assad many things. Just as many things we want. But calling her ignorant and forsaken is wrong. She is not. On the contrary.

This is not a suppressed woman who, according to her own optics, could/should/would have stopped her husband. Not at all. On the contrary, this is a woman who expresses a very specific desire to support her husband in her struggle to save her country against jihadists.

The desert’s Rose is forfeited

Therefore, she should not be considered as a greater mystery either as a woman or as a presidential mermaid. She is not a “ Desert Rose as she was featured in a Vogue article that went to the press shortly after the Syrian Civil War’s outbreak in 2011. (The article was subsequently removed from Vogue’s website . It later appeared that a US company had been paid by the Syrian government for arranging the article in Vogue. A description of the process prior to the article itself a pretty PR-conscious presidency).

Nor is she a suppressed and delayed female human being who lies under her husband’s whims. A leaked mail correspondence between the two spouses leaves an impression of a very similar couple. No matter how many different labels we from the West try to stick to her, in our attempt to understand her, we actually do ourselves a worship service.

When we try to simplify Mrs Assad by calling her a rose of a desert, or to an unaware, diminished size that does not dare go against her husband, we close her eyes to the fact that she is very much aware of what’s going on, but that she simply supports her husband in his dispositions.

A simplified reality

Asma al-Assad’s reality is different from ours. Her truth is different from ours. You can of course blame her for making an overly simplified view of Syria’s situation. And her insistence that her husband does everything to save Syria. It is of course – again – her truth that can withstand modifications. An unprecedented interpretation. But the problem goes both ways. Western media coverage of the war is equally disastrously simplified and unexpected. And the lack of coverage of the war forms a large part of the basis for our attitude to this. It forms the basis for our perception of what is right and wrong in the war. Who are the evil and the good?

And no, this should not be read as a defense of the Syrian civil war’s catastrophic abuse against the civilian population. Not at all. But an indication that the image is not only uniquely black and white or simple as it is often presented in Western media.

We can call Asma al-Assad many things. Just as many things we want. But calling her ignorant and forsaken is wrong. She is not. On the contrary.

Image Source: Wikimedia commons. Bashar and Asma al-Assad, President and first-wife of Syria. Agência Brasil [1].Ricardo Stuckert/ABr

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