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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vogue fawns over the wonderful Assads

Asma al-Assad is "a rose in the desert" in this puff piece on one of the world's most ruthless dictators.


How easy is it to play the Western media? Apparently, it is trivial.

Vogue went to Syria to show how wonderful Bashir Assad and his wife are. Without doing a modicum of research on Syria's history of ruthless oppression and mass murders, the writers fall under the spell of Bashir Assad's lovely wife, wearing a T-shirt that says "Happiness."
Asma al-Assad is glamorous, young, and very chic—the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies. Her style is not the couture-and-bling dazzle of Middle Eastern power but a deliberate lack of adornment. She’s a rare combination: a thin, long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind who dresses with cunning understatement. Paris Match calls her “the element of light in a country full of shadow zones.” She is the first lady of Syria.
Let's fall in love!

Other gems:
Syria is known as the safest country in the Middle East.

Asma’s husband, Bashar al-Assad, was elected president in 2000, after the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad, with a startling 97 percent of the vote.

The French ambassador to Syria, Eric Chevallier, says, “She managed to get people to consider the possibilities of a country that’s modernizing itself, that stands for a tolerant secularism in a powder-keg region, with extremists and radicals pushing in from all sides—and the driving force for that rests largely on the shoulders of one couple. I hope they’ll make the right choices for their country and the region. ”

On Friday, the Muslim day of rest, Asma al-Assad opens the door herself in jeans and old suede stiletto boots, hair in a ponytail, the word happiness spelled out across the back of her T-shirt. At the bottom of the stairs stands the off-duty president in jeans—tall, long-necked, blue-eyed. A precise man who takes photographs and talks lovingly about his first computer, he says he was attracted to studying eye surgery “because it’s very precise, it’s almost never an emergency, and there is very little blood.”
Did the writers check out any human rights reports on Syria? Did they discuss freedom of expression? Anti-semitism? Did the word "Hama" escape their lips?

Perhaps the people from Vogue would be interested in how Bashir's father liked to spend his time...

The article is so fawning it sometimes appears to be a spoof. Unfortunately, it is quite serious.

(h/t Folderol)