If you haven’t already, do read this piece by Angelique Christafis for The Guardian: The Arab World’s First Ladies of Oppression.
Christafis catalogues the wives of Arab dictators and exposes the shameless whitewashing they provide for their cruel husbands in the West. The most poignant example amongst them is the wife of Syrian president Basher al-Assad, First Lady Asma al-Assad, who, while her husband had already started plunging his country into an unspeakable bloodbath, appeared as a glamorous, British-educated lady in a Vogue magazine feature:
The row over a shockingly fawning, lengthy puff-piece in American Vogue last year depicting Asma’s Louboutin shoes and charity work, as well as a recent appearance at a rally hugging her children in support of her husband and an email to the Times explaining her backing of him, has reopened the debate about the role of dictators’ wives in the Arab spring.
She goes on to describe Suzanne Mubarak, wife of the deposed Egyptian dictator:
Meanwhile, Suzanne, the half-Welsh wife of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, benefited from a fortune of billions in a country where around 40% of the population lives on less than £1.20 per day. She is now being investigated alongside her husband on allegations of crimes against the state and has relinquished disputed assets worth nearly £2.5m. Before the Egyptian revolution, whole newspaper pages were “allocated” to cover Suzanne’s “charitable engagements” and “actions” for women.
It’s a pathetic portrait of Western media, all well deserved.