Asma al-Assad ‘mother of the nation?’ Instagram doesn’t think so

Published March 23rd, 2017 - 12:00 GMT
Asma al-Assad greets a Syrian mother, 21 March 2017. (Syrian Presidency)
Asma al-Assad greets a Syrian mother, 21 March 2017. (Syrian Presidency)

Social media users made fun of Syrian First Lady Asma Al-Assad being named as the “Mother of the Nation.”

In comments replete with derision and taunts, they said it was galling on her part to be called the “Mother of the Nation” after having overseen the murder of nearly 400,000 of her compatriots since the 2011 revolution.

Almost 5 million people have fled Syria since the beginning of the war and a further 6.3 million remain as internally displaced persons, according to UNHCR data.

The Syrian president wife was named “Mother of the Nation” in a flurry of pictures and video clips released on the occasion of Mother’s Day in the Middle East.

To mark the occasion, which is celebrated on March 21 in the Arab world, Asma Al-Assad welcomed a group of mothers whose sons had died in the fighting in Aleppo.

The Instagram and Facebook accounts of the Syrian presidency posted images of the meeting, showing Asma Al-Assad hugging and laughing with a group of women.

The images and video were titled “Mother of the Nation,” in reference to the first lady. Instagram users went ballistic against her. “She has no shame,” said one Instagram user. “She and her husband have reduced the country into one big graveyard.” 

In a video posted to the Facebook page, Asma Al-Assad told the mothers: “You, Aleppo mothers, made Aleppo stronger. You have been the compass we all followed and went through toward victory. You decided you would win and you did through your sons, your homes, your endurance and your support to your army. You won and Aleppo won along with you.”

She further said: “Every mother that insisted on staying at her home despite the bombs of terrorism is a weapon in the hand of a soldier, and every mother who sent her children to school despite the fear and danger is a bullet in the rifle of every soldier.

The plight of civilians in Aleppo caused global outrage as Syrian troops moved from neighborhood to neighborhood and civilians posted social media videos bidding farewell to their followers.

“We appear to be witnessing nothing less than ... a total uncompromising military victory,” former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the time, according to Reuters.

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