New Video Calls for Syria's First Lady to Defy Husband

As Syrian President Bashar Assad continues his war on his opponents, diplomats’ wives call on Asma Assad to defy him.

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Maayana Miskin,

Asmaa and Bashar al-Assad
Asmaa and Bashar al-Assad

The wives of two United Nations ambassadors have created a video calling for change in Syria. Instead of targeting Syrian President Bashar Assad as previous appeals have, the video is directed at his wife, Asma Assad.

The video opens with a picture of Asma juxtaposed with images of veiled Syrian women mourning. “Some women care for style, and some women care for their people,” a woman’s voice declared. “Some women struggle for their image, and some women struggle for survival.”

“Some women pretend to have no choice,” the video continues. A later image of a bloodied child is accompanied by the words, “What about this boy, where was his choice?”

“Stand up for peace, Asma. Speak out now for the sake of your people. Stop your husband and his supporters. Stop being a bystander,” the appeal concludes.

Huberta von Voss-Wittig, wife of Germany’s UN ambassador, and Sheila Lyall Grant, the wife of Britain’s UN ambassador, created the video on their own initiative. “We want her to speak out for the end of violence,” they explained.

Emails published by the Guardian seem to indicate that Asma Assad has spent the past several months shopping, with little concern for the thousands of Syrian citizens dying as her husband battles an uprising. However, Asma’s father, who has been openly critical of Assad’s crackdown on opponents, says his daughter may be under virtual house arrest.