Asma al-Assad, the wife of the dictator of Syria, is “extremely thin and very well dressed and therefore qualified to be in Vogue” magazine. At least that’s what Joan Juliet Buck told the New York Times.
Buck presumably knows, because she wrote a flattering profile of Assad for Vogue titled “A Rose in the Desert” and described her as “the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies.” The Times reported that a U.S. public relations firm hired by the Assads for $5,000 a month helped arrange Buck’s interview with Asma al-Assad. The article, one of several positive stories in the world’s press, appeared in the March 2011 issue.
Coincidentally, it was in March 2011 that the regime of Assad’s husband, Bashir al-Assad, began what has become a series of atrocities against its own people who were rising up against his corrupt, autocratic, military-dominated government. (The people also are none too pleased with the lavish spending that Asma al-Assad has indulged in, while they are hungry.)
The conflict has frustrated the world’s efforts to make peace, created disputes among other countries, perhaps made Syria a destination for terrorists, and become a civil war.
Asma al-Assad is well dressed because, as the wife of a Mideast dictator, she can afford to be. Her shopping trips to London, where she was born, reared and educated, have been widely reported. (Indeed, the European Union has banned her as part of its sanctions on Syria.) A onetime investment banker, she is described as smart, beautiful and powerful.
In any event, that profile of her has since been pulled from Vogue’s website.
“In 2010, we set up an interview with the Syrian leader’s wife, Asma al-Assad, a Western-educated former banker and a woman with a reputation as a force for reform in the Middle East,” Vogue’s editor, Anna Wintour, wrote.
“Like many at that time, we were hopeful that the Assad regime would be open to a more progressive society. Subsequent to our interview, as the terrible events of the past year and a half unfolded in Syria, it became clear that its priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue.
“The escalating atrocities in Syria are unconscionable, and we deplore the actions of the Assad regime in the strongest possible terms.”
That seems like the sound of someone trying to unring a bell. Cannot be done.