By Mirembe Martina
As the rest of the world is concentrating on the Syrian President, Bashir Al-Assad, his wife goes behind unnoticed.
Syria’s first lady, Asma Assad has been going on as if nothing is wrong with her country or what her husband might or may not be doing. Asma has been on Instagram posting personal inauthentic pictures on a ‘goodwill’ tour, shopping for fancy shoes and even collecting home furnishings.
Syria has for the last year and more been under a civil war with the central government retaining power despite continued rebellion from the citizens. According to the U.N., the war has killed 100,000 people and sent millions more into refugee status.
Asma’s Instagram account was launched by her family in July in a bid to gain public approval against the negative reports as a result of the country’s civil war. The account has almost 37,000 followers. It has smiling images of her greeting children, hugging the elderly, caring for the sick, and working at a soup kitchen. The account also has airbrushed photos of her husband waving to crowds of supporters and pushing paperwork while seated at a glossy desk.
In July, the U.S. State Department referred to the account as “nothing more than a despicable PR stunt.”
Asma has been dubbed a modern-day Marie Antoinette for living a lavish lifestyle at a time when, according to the Economist, 19 percent of Syrian’s live below the poverty line.
Mrs. Assad was raised and educated in the U.K. The 38-year-old graduated from King’s College London in 1996 with a degree in computer science and French literature after which she worked as an international investment banker before marrying President Assad in 2000.
As the first lady, Mrs. Assad rarely makes public appearances or speeches.
Last month, Assad’s 11-year old son, Hafez reportedly posted a Facebook status in which he called Americans “cowards” and challenged the United States to attack Syria.