Michael Totten

99.7 Percent

On the subject of black humor in the Levant (see the previous post), someone in the comments section reminded me of a terrific moment in Thomas Friedman’s From Beirut to Jerusalem. (Friedman can be ridiculous sometimes, but his work in Beirut was fantastic.)

The only joke I ever heard about Syrian President Assad was told by a Lebanese. It went like this: After a national “election” in Syria, an aide comes to President Assad and says, “Mr. President, you won the election with a 99.7 percent majority. That menas only three-tenths of 1 percent of the people did not vote for you. What more could you ask for?” Assad replies, “Their names.”