The wives of the British and German ambassadors to the United Nations made a harshly worded video appeal to Asma Al-Assad, the first lady of Syria, to use her influence to stop the bloodshed in her country.
A powerful film, posted on Youtube, juxtaposing Mrs. Assad's lavish lifestyle with graphic pictures of wounded and dead women and children, asks the public to sign a petition demanding that the first lady stop the violence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzUViTShIAo&feature=player_embedded
"Some women care for style," says the video, showing a glamorous picture of Mrs. Assad referencing her lavish shopping sprees in Europe. The film then dissolves into a picture of a Syrian woman carrying a baby amidst children in what looks like a chaotic and dark room. "And some care for their people," the narrator says.
The contrast grows starker as the four and a half minute video progresses, even using Mrs. Assad's own words against her. The first lady, who was born in the United Kingdom and is a British citizen, was once considered an advocate for Syria's transition to a more democratic society.
The film shows a clip of the first lady giving a speech where she says, "We should all be able to live in peace, stability and with our dignities," and then asks,
"What happened to you Asma?"
Asma Al-Assad, who is a British citizen, has come under intense criticism for her lavish lifestyle and support of her husband Bashir Al-Assad during the crackdown in Syria, which has lasted over a year and killed an estimated 10,000 people. Emails obtained by the British newspaper the Guardian show Mrs. Assad spending tens of thousands of dollars shopping on-line and joking about the uprising, calling herself "the real dictator" in the family.
Sheila Lyall Grant, the wife in of British U.N. Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant, and Huberta von Moss, wife of German U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig, are the women responsible for the video and petition. They issued a statement explaining their actions.
"We strongly believe in Asma's responsibility as a woman, as a wife and as a mother," they wrote. "As the vocal female Arab leader that she used to be, as a champion of female equality, she cannot hide behind her husband."
Besides the private emails where she expresses love and support for President Assad and his actions, she publicly declared she is standing by her husband in an email sent to the The Times of London in February via a representative
"The president is the President of Syria, not a faction of Syrians," the statement read. "And the First Lady supports him in that role."