Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on ABC -- to laugh or cry? Barbara Walters heard and saw it all. I, for one, will never forget her iconic interviews with the late Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, which preceded the former historic visit in Jerusalem. I doubt though if even the veteran broadcaster was ready for the bizarre display of innocence by Assad, explaining what is happening in Syria as if this country is on another planet. While piles of bodies are dumped in the streets of Homs, the Western-educated eye doctor told the world that the poor victims are peace-loving Syrian security personnel... yes, he conceded, Syria is not democratic... no, he lectured the bemused Walters, why should we believe the UN?
Clearly, Assad's stand-up comedy talents are the side of him not hitherto known to the world, so now we know. This is laughable, but beyond that nothing else is laughable about the evolving tragedy in Syria. Let's start with the image of the Syrian dictator. For years a coterie of writers, politicians and world leaders worked hard on portraying the image of a man of reform, a benign father-figure whose days and nights are devoted to the relentless pursuit of happiness for his compatriots. An American biographer told us about one of the dictator's visits in Aleppo, when the ruler talked to one of the vendors in the bazaar who told him that his dream was to have a PC. Guess what, a few days later, the young vendor got his dream fulfilled, a new PC...
Stories like that created the image of a modern day Harun Al-Rashid, the legendary Abbasid Khalif in Baghdad (786- 09 A.D), but then, beyond the legends associated with Rashid, he built the great Bayt Al-Hikma (House of wisdom), and left his stamp on Islam's glorious history.
When legends were written about Bashar Assad, the writers already should have known the sad truth about him and his rule over Syria, but they chose to act like the three monkeys. So, now that the massacre in the streets is in full force, many of them choose to keep silent or even to make amends to the dictator. In other days, they glorified him for maintaining stability in a country as UN-governable as Syria used to be prior to the accession of the Assad dynasty
Now, the dictator claims that the killings are not under his responsibility. Any amateur researcher is hereby invited to find how many times in any given time Syria's official media showed to the entire world pictures of the uniformed Commander-in-Chief, Bashar Al- Assad, who, by the way, never served in the Syrian Army...
Here is my explanation: Bashar Assad used ABC in order to talk to the Hague International Court, starting his defense case. It is not me, if is my generals... these generals, among them his brother, and other members of the family, should not at all be relaxed this morning, the family Omerta may have been broken.
Those Syrians who got wind of the interview are the ones who are crying. They know the truth, they see it in the streets.