Syrian President`s wife urged to stop violence

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 11:30

United Nations: The wives of the British and German ambassadors to the United Nations released a video on Wednesday urging the wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad to stop being a bystander and speak out to demand that her husband stop the violence now.

The video asks viewers to sign an online petition to Asma Assad asking that she take a risk and "stand up for peace ... for the sake of your people."

Huberta von Voss-Wittig, wife of Germany`s UN Ambassador Peter Wittig, and Sheila Lyall Grant, wife of Britain`s UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, said in a letter accompanying the video that as a woman, wife, mother, champion of women`s equality, and formerly vocal female Arab leader, "she cannot hide behind her husband."

"Her public voice is needed," they said, noting that many female victims of the ongoing violence have taken the risk to speak out and stand up for their freedom.

"We are asking Asma Assad to take a risk, too, and to say openly: Stop the bloodshed, stop it right now," Voss-Wittig and Lyall Grant said.

The video alternates pictures of the stylish 36-year-old British-born Asma with scenes of Syria`s conflict and its victims, including graphic pictures of children who have been killed or injured in the more than year-long conflict in which more than 9,000 people have died according to the United Nations.

Before the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, the Assads often were spotted driving and riding bicycles in Damascus with their three children. They live in an apartment in an upscale district of the capital, as opposed to a palatial mansion like other Arab leaders.

Asma played a key role in shoring up the image of the authoritarian regime, which the Assad family has controlled for four decades.

She was the subject of flattering profiles in Vogue and other fashion magazines. In 2009, Britain`s top-selling tabloid The Sun introduced its readers to the "sexy Brit" who was "bringing Syria in from the cold."

Bureau Report



First Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 11:30

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