Sawyer's Sympathy for the Syrian Dictator
Yet that's just what Diane did after her interview with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in which he claimed Syria wasn't ready for democracy. The screencap you see here is of Diane giving a dramatic portrayal of Assad's words. Emoted Diane:
"The president reminded me that all over the Arab world, there is a standard saying, 'chouay, chouay' [my transliteration] which means 'slowly, slowly. Change must come slowly.'"Have a look at the video clip of Diane's dramatic rendering here.
Yesterday, I had criticized Sawyer's failure to raise with Assad the issue of the utter absence of democracy in Syria. To her credit, Diane did question him on the issue in the segment televised today, also raising allegations that Syria was behind a political assassination in Lebanon. Even so, it was done with a sympathetic touch. She began by, in effect, blaming Western ignorance of Middle Eastern ways: "It's hard for us who grew up in western democracy to understand why a man who studied in a democracy, the president, married a woman born into democracy, his wife, in England, would not instantly impose a western-style democracy in this country." Perhaps we need some more multi-cultural sensitivity training.
And of all the ways Sawyer might have described Bashar's father, the previous dictator Hafez al Assad, a tyrant with much blood on his hands, Diane chose to note only that "Richard Nixon had once said he had a touch of genius." Diane then broached the circumstances under which Bashar acceded to power:
Sawyer: "Before President Haffez died, it was understood that his oldest son Basil, of the fast cars and the charisma, would succeed him. But one day, racing to the airport, he crashed the car, and died. The other son, the opthamologist in London, got the news, and had to tell his dad."
Sawyer to Bashar: "And you had to call your father and tell him there'd been the accident."
Assad: "Yeah, I knew before him, and had to tell him."Sawyer, giving Bashar the full sympathetic treatment normally reserved for bereaved families back home: "Was that the hardest time in your life?"
Assad: "Of course, death is not easy for a member of the family. Especially in an emotional society, like in the Middle East."
Video of "hardest time of your life" exchange here.Touching. Too bad Sawyer didn't ask how hard things were for the estimated 10-25,000 people Haffez massacred in the Syrian town of Hama.
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