Daily Archives: January 10, 2012

Roula Khalaf

Bashar al-Assad was as arrogant as ever when he delivered a 100-minute speech that promised more of the same for Syria’s beleaguered population.

The Syrian president’s answer to the uprising that has been raging for more than 10 months was to give a lecture on Arabism, lambasting neighbouring states which have frozen Syria’s membership of the Arab League, and declaring that Damascus was more Arab than any of them.

It was, he reminded his audience at Damascus University, the late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser who declared that Syria was the beating heart of the Arab world. “Can a body live without a heart?” he asked. And who are these Arabs who are preaching reform? He asked. They are, he said, “like a smoking doctor who wants to convince his patients to stop smoking.” Read more