In January 2009, a prominent political icon took to CNN to express moral outrage over the actions of a Middle Eastern government attacking civilians. It was a moving performance, filled with pathos and righteous anger:
The numbers continuously and consistently increase…it’s not even day by day, it’s hour by hour. 824 people dead. Two hours ago that number was 821…
This is the 21st century. Where in the world could this happen? Unfortunately, it is happening.
You send your children off to school knowing that they’ll be safe, knowing that they’re going to get a good education. Mothers in [x] don’t do that. Children don’t go to school because it’s not safe, because — it’s just beyond belief, to be honest.
Mothers — think about when you put your children to bed at night. This is something I think on a daily basis. You put your children to bed at night and you expect to see them in the morning. That’s a luxury that people in [x] just do not have.
So what would it have been like for you having — living under those circumstances? That is something that we just cannot survive and wait for it to stop.
The source of this searing moral critique? Asma Assad, wife of Bashar Assad. Her target? Israel during its 2008 incursion into Gaza to halt the Hamas rocket fire which had forced a million of its citizens into underground shelters.
The immensity of Ms Assad’s hypocrisy is only fully appreciable today. While her husband oversees the slaughter of over 5000 of his own civilians, the lovely Assad is standing by her man. After remaining silent since the killing began in March 2011, she today released a statement to the international press. It is a veritable profile in moral courage:
The President is the President of Syria, not a faction of Syrians, and the First Lady supports him in that role. These days she is equally involved in bridging gaps and encouraging dialogue. She listens to and comforts the families of the victims of the violence.
The shamelessness of these sentiments — vowing to comfort the very innocents her husband is butchering in his desperate attempt to cling to power — brings to mind some of Ms Assad’s other priceless pearls of wisdom. Vogue magazine’s infamous puff profile of the Syrian First Lady — the publication has since pulled the piece from its web site, without explanation or apology — proffered the following gem:
The 35-year-old first lady’s central mission is to change the mind-set of six million Syrians under eighteen, encourage them to engage in what she calls “active citizenship.” “It’s about everyone taking shared responsibility in moving this country forward, about empowerment in a civil society. We all have a stake in this country; it will be what we make it.”
These days, as the streets of Syria run with the blood of active citizens, Mrs. Assad is standing by her man. After all, he’s a good provider.
[A previous version of this post carried an image of a Palestinian boy mopping up blood in a slaughterhouse. He has nothing to do with events in Syria, and Via Meadia regrets the error.]