27 February 2011

Vogue felches another dictator

The world of fashion presents itself as being about aesthetics.

This week Vogue magazine has shown itself to be so skindeep as to be sickening.

Assad is President because his father was.  He inherited it from his delightful father Hafez al-Assad.  Hafez al-Assad established a police state under rule of the Ba'ath Party combining Soviet style socialism with the brutality of an ethnic minority (he was Alawite) seeking to dominate a majority that might otherwise be less enthused about his rule.

The Syrian police state detains without trial and executes political opponents.  There is no independent media or political dissent permitted in Syria.   One of its techniques of extracting information from dissidents is the "Syrian chair" which carefully bends ones back backwards until vertebrae break one at a time.

Vogue didn't mention that though.

Neither did Vogue mention the at least 17,000 people massacred at Hama in 1982, as Assad senior sought to wipe out the Muslim Brotherhood, but essentially shelled and bombed the city for days on end to clear the population.   

However it did mention how Bashar Assad won the 2000 election with 97% of the vote - no questioning of that at all.   Not a mention of how free and fair Syrian elections are not.

Yet the article is mostly about his wife.  A London born Syrian girl, daughter of a cardiologist who was working with JP Morgan when she started "dating a family friend" who was Bashar.  As if that was just like anyone dating the son of a dictator.  What a world!

The rest of it is gushing sycophancy.  All the good work she does, how "normal" their life really is, and how she is part of the effort to modernise Syria and build a civil society in a Middle East full of Islamists.


No difficult questions asked about torture, extrajudicial executions and political prisoners.  Nothing about the suppression of speech and political discourse.  Nothing about alliances with Iran, nothing about invading Lebanon.  Nothing about overthrowing its elected government.  Nothing about chemical and biological weapons. 

Foreign Policy says:

It's hard to imagine that a Vogue editor woke up this morning and decided it wouldn't be hugely embarrassing to publish a puff piece today, at the moment of the greatest upheaval in the Middle East in two generations, about Syria's ruling family. But that appears to be exactly what happened. 

The article does not once mention the protests currently under way in the Middle East, including scattered evidence of demonstrations in Syria. Instead, the article focuses on Syrian first lady Asma Assad -- the "freshest and most magnetic of first ladies," endowed with "[d]ark-brown eyes, wavy chin-length brown hair, long neck, an energetic grace." At a time when other Middle Eastern first ladies, notably Tunisia's Leila Trabelsi, have been the target of protesters' wrath, this may not be the wisest moment for Asma to flaunt her glamour.

Vogue.  Not just vapid and intellectual fodder with those with the depth of a teenage groupie, but instrumental in providing succour and good publicity to dictatorship.   Then again, Naomi Campbell's brainlessness in her dealings with dictator Charles Taylor was simply more evidence of an industry built on making money from being clueless.

1 comment:

Paul Goodsort said...

Gidday there LS,

Finally taken the plunge and started my own blog.

Link back would be appreciated.

Keep-up the good work.