Asma al-Assad‘s shoes
24 March 2012
We don’t know what might affect Asma al-Assad, the Syrian president‘s wife, if banned from entering the EU. Neither do we know the same of her mother-in-law Anisa who we have never heard of since she supposedly left Damascus perhaps over forty years ago. Some points of the European ban seem meaningless.
Mrs Asma al-Assad found herself, by chance, a wife of the Syrian president. When she became so, her husband was not that much loved or hated. But most of the countries which are hostile to him now were proud of his friendship and used to furnish the floor with a red carpet for him. They also considered him leader of the opposition, although they were well aware that he is a dictator and his regime was the worst in the region and perhaps in the whole world in terms of human rights issues.
The Syrian president’s wife who has been banned from entering the European paradise was less than a year occupying Arab women magazine’s covers as well as European ones. Many articles were drafted about her style and beauty. She used to be presented as the civilised face of the new Arab woman. Nobody who was initially chasing the first Syrian lady and her parents in order to meet her tried to stop for a moment and consider the Syrian regime’s dictatorship, its human rights violations and its humiliation of more than 20 million citizens.
We don’t know why Asma al-Assan is being punished in particular. She is not a general in the Syrian security forces overseeing the torture of dissidents or issuing sentences for executing them. She cannot divorce her husband nor escape from Syria if she wants to. This shows that those who issued such a decision do not know Syria or its civil law or the provisions of Islamic laws, and what is more is they are closing the doors to salvation in the face of a woman in case she decides to leave her husband and children which would be completely unexpected.
Perhaps the recently leaked electronic messages to some Western newspapers and from there to their Arab counterparts unveiled Asma’s recklessness towards the Syrian people‘s suffering, who face death daily. This is represented in her buying very expensive shoes and vases which causes debate, because this shopping was a subject of praise before the bloody events of Syria came into the spotlight. However, nobody, or perhaps a minority, pointed out issues which are of more importance revealed in the e-mails.
The most notable issue was the absence of the state institutions in Syria and having all the authority in the hands of the president and a small group of advisors, who decided everything without referring to other institutions in the country.
We would have strongly condemned the matter of the email and message leak, even if it was of a dictator. This is a robbery that is against the law, and it is the same as the eavesdropping scandal that rocked the British newspapers that belong to Rupert Murdoch’s media comglomerate. The scandal regarded the recording of phone calls of hundreds of senior officials and celebrities in art and football. What makes us have reservations for the convictions, or for being suspected of defending a dictator regime? Is it not that this regime never respected the privacy of its own people, where people were constantly spied on by the country’s intelligence services? How many people, including the government officials, were subjected to blackmail as a result of these and other practices?
We are well aware that the Syrian regime has crossed all limits in its deadliest war to suppress the uprising. We are also aware that there are 10,000 people killed by the security forces’ bullets, but the war has its moralities as well. The problem of the Syrian people with the regime is not that Asma al-Assad has bought a pair of shoes for $3,000. The problem is with the regime’s dictatorship, savage and brutal. There are thousands of women, particularly the daughters and wives of wealthy Arabs, especially the Syrians, who along with their husbands from the opposition buy shoes for many times that price.
We are not talking here about the wives and daughters of the Arab governors, and we do not refer to their private e-mails and what messages and photos they include, or their shopping bills in London, Paris and Geneva. We just say the Arab proverb an Arab proverb that means: When someone falls, many of his enemies show up to take revenge.
The Syrian people, who have been alone facing death tirelessly for more than 12 months to offer his blood and soul in sacrifice, have been exposed to a big deception from the Arabs and the West as well. There are many who are selling them an illusion, and raise their hopes that salvation is very near, and there lurks the real scandal, not in the messages or in the photo of a semi-naked woman that has been found among this huge amount of e-mails.
The real democratic change will inevitably happen at the end, not because it is a legitimate change, but because the Syrian people will not halt their marches and sacrifices until they impose this democratic change whatever the cost. Those who stop at a pair of shoes or a bag or imposing a ban on a woman will not benefit the Syrian people, or so we believe.