the tyrant’s wife


Dear Asma, It’s been five years since we last saw each other, but as your country has burned at the hands of your husband over the past year, I, along with the rest of the world, have wondered where you’ve been amid this madness. Then, late last week, I saw that you had finally broken your silence by emailing a British newspaper to express your support for your husband, Bashar al-Assad. As your countrymen are being tortured and murdered by the regime that bears your last name, I imagine the trips we took together are far from your mind. But I am writing to remind you of the experiences we shared—and of the Asma I once knew—when we, along with 300 other women, came together to promote peace in the Middle East by biking across the region. We first met in your palace in Damascus in 2005. You looked beautiful; as always, you were dressed in the most fashionable clothes. The last rays of the September sun streamed in from the balcony and onto your hair, perfectly styled, as you spoke to 300 women who were in Syria to “cycle for peace” on a trip run by a group called Follow the Women.

more from Parvaneh Vahidmanesh at Tablet here.