Asma Al Assad's image in the western media has taken a turn for the worse since the Syrian uprising began. The wife of a man now regarded the world over as something of a murderous tyrant, she was previously feted by leaders of European countries; in fact, she was born in one, and carries a UK passport.
There are many faces to Asma Al Assad: sometimes western, sometimes Arab; sometimes philanthropic, sometimes a banker. Always stylish. And, as recently most attested, the unremittingly good wife.
A look at how Syria's First Lady, that is, first for charity and good works, began to slip if not plunge from grace. Aside from over-spending, which many wives are guilty of, she has colluded, as lately exposed in her husband's mocking of reform and covert-tank tactics. She has gradually shifted from strained shades of silence to more significant public support for the questionably inscrupulous father of her children. An email statement issued straight from her office, voiced her wifely stance capped in her advocacy of his constitutional reform pledge. From the flattering epithet 'desert rose' offered early 2011 by a Vogue appraisal, she has more aptly started to earn, in some minds, the label of Arabic 'Marie Antoinette', as her husband's subjects choke on their Kanaafeh (an Arabic cake).