Bobby Sager is a millionaire entrepreneur who has devoted his life—when he's not busy serving as chairman of Polaroid—to traveling the world and helping people with his money. He's pals with Sting, hobnobs with Lady Gaga (pictured), and served as the inspiration for NBC's The Philanthropist. And according to internal emails from the Syrian regime, he's a great friend to that country's butcher of a president, Bashar al Assad.
You know how you know you're probably a miserable, murderous, Middle East tyrant? When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls you up and says, "Bashie? Mahmoud here. Oh, good, good. Azam and the kids are terrific! Thanks for asking. Listen, Bash, I absolutely adore your work. You know that. Great stuff. There's no one who can brutally put down an uprising like you can. Oh, stop, you flatter me. That? That was barely an uprising! That was, like, two undergrads with a Tweeter machine and a little tear gas. No, but you. You're the man. You can't see this, but I'm high-fiving you right now! Ha ha ha! No, but listen hear me out for a second here. Maybe you should think about turning down the dial a bit on this whole 'mass-murdering of your own people' thing? What? No! Not too much! Never too much. But you know how the Westerners are. They're all 'barbaric' this, 'unarmed protesters mowed down with gunboats' that. Oh crap! I'm late for my two o'clock gay hanging. Can we pick this up tomorrow? You got it. Send my love to Asma. Saw the Vogue spread. Fabulous."
Renowned Syrian political cartoonist Ali Ferzat was found severely beaten early this morning on the Damascus Airport road, apparently by plain clothes government thugs, or shabiha. A picture from the hospital today shows both of his hands appearing to be severely injured. Long critical of the Assad family, Ferzat was nonetheless tolerated and, as the Guardian notes, even respected by Bashar al-Assad at one point. Ferzat told the paper in 2001 about an encounter he had with Bashar the aspiring opthamologist:
As her husband deploys tanks to kill civilians in cities across Syria, many have wondered where in the world the "glamorous, young, and very chic" Asma al-Assad could be. It turns out that the dual British-Syrian citizen is probably hiding out in west London where she grew up, according to reports. The Telegraph spoke with a "high-ranking Arab diplomatic source" who claims that she is indeed staying in North Acton with her family. The source also said, "Clearly her presence could cause huge embarrassment to the British, so none of this has been made public." Yes, that would be pretty embarrassing!
Apparently taking a cue from his daddy, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has dispatched troops, along with tanks and other armor, to the southern city of Deraa, which has been the focal point for anti-government protests and, in turn, deadly regime crackdowns. The above video was uploaded to YouTube this morning. Online activists also report hearing "artillery" fire over the phone from Deraa. From Reuters:
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, busy running a violent crackdown on his own people, got a phone call from an old friend, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, who said he supports Assad "in the face of conspiracy." Assad also got calls from other dickheads in the region: the King of Bahrain and the Emirs of Kuwait and Qatar, among others. Aww. [SANA, image via AP]
Did you know that today is a "Day of Rage" across the Muslim world, where bone-weary citizens are finally taking to the streets against their corrupt dictators? Seems like as good a time as any for Vogue to publish a fawning profile of the "glamorous, young, and very chic" wife of Syria's brutal tyrant, right?