Twitter closed down a string of accounts purporting to be authored by the Syrian president and the first lady, emails reveal.
A senior aide to Asma al-Assad, Fares Kallas, took issue with the site over 11 accounts. Half of the accounts using the first lady’s name and all but one of those using the president’s name were closed down.
The author of one account, @Syrianpresident, described it as a “parody account” and said it had attracted 2,500 followers.
Kallas wrote to Twitter complaining that this and other accounts were “fraudulent Twitter accounts purporting to be the president of Syria and the first lady of Syria and we would like to officially request for these accounts to be removed or suspended. We believe that each of the following are clearly intending to mislead people via impersonation rather than act as spoof/humorous accounts.”
Twitter told the Assad office: “We do suspend accounts that are clear attempts at impersonation,” but added: “Twitter users are allowed to create parody, commentary and fan accounts.”
How does Asma Al-Assad have clout to get a bunch of parody Twitter accounts closed? Syria’s First Dictatorette must be more powerful than we thought. I for one would like to have Twitter shutter the tweet-handles of Daily Kos, Keith Olbermann and Barack Obama for starters. I mean, if we’re just terminating obvious lame joke accounts, we should start with the biggest ones.
Here’s an even better question: When does Vogue Magazine do another
breatheless fashionista airbrushing tough-minded profile of Mrs. Assad? Last year the style mavens were all a-flutter, gushing over the greatness of Asma. Now…eh, not so much. Must be the stench from all those massacres that’s harshing Anna Wintour’s fan-girl crush on the First Lady of Syria.
The problem here is that no matter how many Givenchy frocks and how much luxe make-up you put on the wife of a paranoid murderous, freedom hating, minority-bashing jack-booted socialist dickbag, she’ll still be the wife of a paranoid murderous, civil rights hating, minority-bashing jack-booted socialist dickbag. It’s impossible to separate the two. I understand that Asma looks terrific in Chanel sunglasses and Italian couture, but does anybody really understand how she gets her clothes? They’re not running a March of Dimes over in Damascus. The Assad regime is pretty much the blueprint for a multigenerational Middle Eastern kleptocracy.
As the great amateur sociologist PJ O’Rourke once wrote, “It’s always tempting to impute/unlikely virtues to the cute.” Asma Al-Assad, to be frank, is a knock-out. She’s in her mid-thirties, but she looks like she could be ten years younger. Her English is spoken with a genteel British lilt. She is blessed by great genetics–and some help from an expensive personal trainer, no doubt–to have a runway model’s physique. Her golden wavy tresses and girlish smile give her an air of sun-kissed youth leavened by a cultured aesthetic. It would be hard for even the most rock-ribbed cynic to resist Mrs. Assad’s numerous charms.
But that doesn’t mean the West shouldn’t at least try to see through the beautiful facade. Asma’s husband Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator who has spent the twelve years of his rule torturing and killing his own people. His latest acts of oppression and slaughter are the systematic crackdowns associated with tyrannical socialism. His government stands shoulder to shoulder with America’s worst enemies. Asma is inextricably linked to the Syrian terror state, whether or not we want to acknowledge it.
Moreover, in judging Asma Al-Assad, we should look at her actions, not by her wardrobe. When faced with derision on Twitter, what did Asma do? She didn’t defend free speech rights. Nor did she just ignore the parody accounts, which would probably have been her best choice. No, she used her influence to silence voices of dissent against her husband’s murderous regime. Mrs. Assad’s first instinct was to muzzle criticism of the Syrian government.
In other words, the beautiful style maven beloved by Western elites for her luxurious elegance used a tactic straight out of the How To Trample Free Speech Like A Good Baathist playbook.
Naturally, all this means that Sarah Palin is a Nazi because she criticized Democrats. Asma Al-Assad is just a misunderstood angel.
UPDATE: Turns out the (fake) President of Syria is a fan!
It’s always nice to have celebrity admirers. [sarc/]