It is not often that the Manolo finds himself opining directly on the matters political, but in this case he must make the exception. In February of this year, the Vogue magazine ran the exceedingly fawning piece written by Joan Juliet Buck on the wife of Bashar al-Assad, the dictator-for-life of Syria.
Here is the small, bitterly ironic taste:
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.
“The element of light in the country full of shadow zones.” the Manolo is sure that this must bring great comfort to the thousands of political prisoners languishing in Syrian jails.
But Asma al-Assad likes to help where she can:
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.”
And now the Manolo includes this recent news video of ordinary Syrians participating in “active citizenship”:
You will notice that all across Syria the security forces of the first lady’s husband are engaging these young, active citizens in the spirited debate about the proper role of empowerment in Syria. As of this writing, perhaps as many as 300 active citizens have had their mindset permanently changed by violent death.