Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Personal emails | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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We have been preoccupied with the leaked emails of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, his wife and members of his inner circle of associates. They were reported by the media and then their credibility was debated at great length by the experts. Then the emails were verified by many of the individuals who were named in them, thus confirming the story originally published by the British newspaper “The Guardian”.

The emails have provided us with a picture other than what we previously imagined about Bashar al-Assad, his family and his cohorts, in times such as those being experienced by Syria today. Our imagination always thought it likely that the inner relationship was one of continuous meetings and confusion, followed by firm decisions issued by a group of ruthless officers and officials.

We always wondered whether the Syrian President ever saw the images of cold-blooded murder [committed by his regime], and whether he heard what the Syrians repeat publicly against their oppressors and against him personally. Many often wondered about the role of his wife and her awareness of the reality of the systematic killings taking place under the responsibility of her husband and his administration. She has always been promoted by the Syrian and some global media outlets as a modern woman trying to support the efforts of her husband in developing the country.

Yet those imagined images bore no relation to what was reflected in the leaked emails.

Those emails revealed the enormity of the distance separating the President, his interests and his family from what the uprising Syrians are going through. It is clear that the extreme violence and cruelty carried out against the Syrians by the security services and the Shabiha does not concern the ruling family, and does not change the reality of the inner circle’s daily life.

These emails told us what Asma al-Assad buys online, what music the Syrian President downloads, who his advisors are and what their relationship is, and what type of advice he receives, for anyone paying attention to this critical stage that Syria is experiencing.

We have become so preoccupied with al-Assad’s emails to the extent that we have begun to ask how we can allow ourselves to drift behind the scandals of such emails, instead of the tragedy that reoccurs every day on the streets of Syria.

Yet the scandal with regards to the leaked al-Assad emails has another dimension.

It is scandalous that some Arab “opposition” newspapers and media outlets are working behind the scenes to prevent the publication of these emails and to abstain from commenting on them.

These same media outlets celebrated the “Wikileaks” revelations, which were no less scandalous and did not distinguish between public or private information, however it seemed that their publication was justified and indeed beneficial to the public, as they revealed the hypocrisies of many.

But with al-Assad’s emails, there were those who were reluctant, believing that the publication of such messages was a violation of assumed sanctities and privacies.

Yet privacy does not apply in this case; because Mrs. al-Assad is shopping online whilst the regime which funds here purchases is carrying out daily killings. The emails were not limited to shopping transactions, but also showed details of the regime’s decision-making and consultation process. The President does not consult with people like him, but rather with young women because he believes they are better suited to addressing the West. Here we can realize how much Bashar al-Assad is unwilling to address the Syrians; he does not care about their reactions to what he says, and worse than that he does not care about their pain or the gravity of what he is subjecting them to.