Dressed regularly to the nines in a Chanel suit and Laboutin heels, First Lady of Syria, Asma al-Assad is an intriguing figure to watch. Wife of Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, mother to her three childern, and Emma to her friends and colleagues; its seems as if she is deemed to be called the Princess Diana of Syria. As I continously browse daily on news of the crisis in Syria, the first lady’s pictures always stood out amongst the other thousands of bloody horror pictures. There the president wife is depicted standing next to her hubby at the Monet exhibition in Paris in December of 2010, rocking a classy suit, loose curls in her mane, and plastered a fabulous smile that exudes class and elegance. Little did I know that at the same time that picture was taken, a Tunisian vendor lit himself on fire and inspired a wave of protests across North Africa. This single picture in Paris of the modern couple sparked me to continue on my research of Syria’s first lady. who is Asma al-Assad? What has she done for the mation of Syria? And most importantly,could she be of any influence or change in stopping of the bloodshed of her own nation?Read my findings on the the First Lady of Syria; Asma al-Assad.
Raised in the middle class neighborhood of Acton in West London, Asma experienced a taste of luxury very early in her life. Born to a father who was a well-regarded cardiologist and a mother who was a diplomat. Asma’s story isn’t a cinderella story. it’s more of a Sex in the City’s Charlotte story. She attended an all girls private school and went on to continue to graduate at Kings College in London with degrees in computer science and French literature. Before marrying Syria’s president, Bashar, she worked as an investment banker at JP Morgan.
Through the media, she gained reputation as a clothes horse, of which Asma can be seen in some of the most well-renowned internation fashion houses. I describe her look as a perfect first lady look. The Jackie “O” look that shows a women’s power and feminist qualities all put together into one power suit. And it is of no surprise that Asma was featured in Vogue’s spring 2011 issue. Unfortunately, due to controversiality of the piece, the article was taken down. Since then, little has been reported on the First Lady of Syria. Andrew Tabler, an American Journalist who was living in Syria between 2001-2008, worked and became acquaintances with Asma al-Assad.
Asma and Bashar married in 2000. “There are two sides to Asma al-Assad. She is a modern woman, definitely apart from other wives of Arab leaders.” says Tabler. Tabler claims that she ran nongovernmental organizations geared towards the country’s problems and continuously helped in charities. However, Asma enjoyed and coveted the good life of luxury.
In his memior, “In the Lion’s Den”, Tabler claims that the promises of the young modern couple turned unexpectedly wrong and that even the most well-intentioned leaders were unlikely to change the former decades of corruption. In The New York Times, the Assads made a profile feature in 2005, where they were deemed as the essence of Western-Arab fusion. However, at the same event, the Times reposrter asked Asma if her husband was concerned with US troops being so close to Syria’s border. She responded nonchalantly with a, “We’re off duty.” and a dazzling smile. Can Asma really maintain the facade of having it together when her entire nation is falling into bits and pieces?
And so I have come to my last question, “Does the First Lady of Syria have any influence on the changes the her husband, Bashar al-Assad?” Tabler, who worked close with her for eight years, says that “With all that you can see, you can conclude that she is standing by her man.” For instance, the First Lady met with Aid workers helping in Hama and Homs. There, the aid workers told their horror stories of what they seen. One of the workers said that Mrs. al-Assad was “expressionless, no emotions…” and her reaction was as if “she was hearing a normal story.”Is it love or is it just a front?
My opinion (admittingly a very vague one)
To create my opinion on a person, I like to start off by placing my feet in their shoes. Or in this case, in her Laboutin pumps. (Which I will gladly do.) I would like to give the First Lady of Syria the benefit of a doubt. Syria is an Arab nation still ran by a regime full of men who believe that they are more powerful than women. Even if it is the First Lady of Syria. Even is she does put in her opinion, there is an entire government who will think otherwise and will go with something else. She is the calm face of Syria. Despite the bloodshedding, massacres, and torturing being done within her nation, she has to stay cool and collected. You never know what goes on behind palace doors.
However, everyone knows that a real couple in love will have a major influence on one another. I mean, she can probably slip in a “Maybe we should do something different.” before going to bed. Or an “I love you. Can you please tell your uncles to give up so we can finally have peace?” before hopping into the shower. Eh, who am I kidding? The first opinion was more plausible. This one is hella Disney.
Anyways, with new headlines claiming that four top officials are dead, and with Chaos moving to Damascus, First Lady of Syria has a lot to be “calm” about. Where is she? And is she even in Syria? I’ll keep you posted. -Daisy
(Major Sourcing from CNN.com)