Fisk sull’incontro tra Asma e gli operatori umanitari

Asma al-AsadAncora Robert Fisk, invitato a Damasco dalle autorità siriane. Il 29 ottobre 2 ci riporta la versione del regime del controverso incontro avvenuto tra personale della Mezzaluna Rossa siriana e la First Lady Asma al-Asad, di cui lo stesso giornale di Fisk, The Independent, aveva dato conto qualche giorno fa.

(…) In any event, I was made very much aware by her own personal assistant how “deeply hurt” Bashar al-Assad’s wife Asma was at a report in The Independent a couple of weeks ago which suggested that she was indifferent to the plight of civilian opponents of the regime killed by the security forces. The story – not by me – quoted an aid official in Damascus who was present at a meeting with the First Lady, saying that – when asked about the casualties – “there was no reaction”.

Needless to say, this report was gobbled up by the Arab media, including al-Jazeera, Assad’s most hated TV station. Now Asma al-Assad’s assistant has just given me the Syrian Arab Red Crescent’s own official Arabic-language account of the meeting. It makes interesting reading. SARC volunteers told the president’s wife that they received better treatment from the army “which has a clear leadership” than they did from the intelligence services at the checkpoints across Syria – they said the “muhabarrat” intelligence “enjoys no leadership or clear principles, at least from our point of view” – and that vehicles from the Ministry of Health are sometimes misused by “parties without control and this has created a situation of fear among citizens”. Mrs Assad was told how difficult it was for the SARC to work in dangerous areas and to move the wounded.

“Mrs Asma [sic] showed her understanding of the difficulties our volunteers are going through,” the SARC report says, “and expressed her deep admiration for their efforts in serving humanity and individual people … and promised to convey some of their demands to the authorities.” Mrs Assad’s visit was “informal” and the discussions “friendly”.

In the days that followed, the SARC report continued, the behaviour of “security checkpoints” towards their volunteers improved. A subsequent report in the weekly Syria Today quotes Mrs Assad as telling the Red Crescent volunteers that they “must remain neutral and independent during this time, focusing solely on humanitarian needs”.

So there you have it. Certainly not indifferent – but hardly a ringing condemnation of human rights abuses. Of course, I can see Asma al-Assad’s problem. Had she spoken out directly against the killing of protesters, of course, the world’s press and television would not have said that Mrs Assad stood up for human rights. The headlines would have been political, and would have read: “Syrian President attacked by wife.” The truth, I fear, is that once war begins, you just can’t win. Even if you are the wife of the president (29 ottobre 2011).