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When ‘affectionate’ Assad met with his victims

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s meeting with displaced people is part of his propaganda drive, nothing more

Diana Moukalled

Published: Updated:

A grandmother grabbed the hand of the child crying in front of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, we heard the child weeping, saying she knows nothing of the whereabouts of her mother and siblings. A few incomprehensible words were exchanged and the scene ended with a song: “keep your hand in mine, I will never give you up even if they cut my veins.”

It’s with such irony that the song which Syrian state television chose to express love for the president, links love and loyalty to cutting veins!

The song was played during a broadcast of Assad’s tour of displaced people from Adra. His visit was described as a rare appearance and it came following his callous announcement that he deserves to run for a new “bloody” term.

Those who consider that murder and violence over the past three years in Syria express the meaning of pain and atrocity must probably expand their understanding of brutality. Following three years of continuous scenes of death, we witness a dramatic turn of events where the murderer meets his victims.

The victim is either praying or crying or weeping in pain or lying on their deathbeds while the murderer does not even hide his face and continues to practice his violence, and sometimes laughs.

Assad’s meeting with dozens of displaced people represents the moment the murderer met with his victims

Diana Moukalled



Assad’s meeting with dozens of displaced people represents the moment the murderer met with his victims.

The cameras made sure to broadcast the “affectionate” president’s gestures, but could not hide the suppressed feelings that accompanied his visit. When the president speaks with a crying woman, who begs him to find her missing husband, we can imagine what he really intends to tell her is: “take it easy, and thank God I didn’t kill you with him.” And when he patted the shoulder of a young boy sitting with a group of children, he probably meant “how did you survive my [explosive] barrels, you young ones?”

The displaced people rushed to meet “the president” and gathered around him, chanting “with blood and soul, we’ll sacrifice for you” while he practiced his smiles and empty looks which the camera could not conceal.

The Syrian revolution is certainly extreme. However the Syrian regime has succeeded in raising doubt about the revolution.
Assad’s meeting with displaced people is part of his propaganda drive; it’s the meeting of an “affectionate” president with people displaced and tortured by “gunmen.”

Can you believe Assad to be affectionate?

This is what state television wish for us to believe. They want us to concur that it’s “gunmen” who are killing the Syrian people.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on March 17, 2014.

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Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in Asharq al-Awsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.