Sunday, August 19, 2012


News outlets regularly cover the ongoing bloodbath in Syria. The Syrian civil war illustrates the evil of egotism. I’m struck by what a megalomaniac Bashar al-Assad is. What makes him think he’s that important? What makes him think his political survival is worth murdering thousands of his own citizens, including women and children? Bombing neighborhoods?

Notice I said political survival, not personal survival. He’s not doing this to stay alive–he’s doing this to stay in power. I understand that some folks will do anything to live another day. They will murder their best friend and cannibalize him, if that’s what it takes.

But I assume that, like other doomed dictators, Assad could exercise the golden parachute option. Raid the treasury, then flee the country to a nice island paradise without an extradition treaty, and live in opulence for the remainder of his days

But here he’s fighting to the last drop of blood, as if his life depended on it, when–as far as I can tell–all he has to lose is his job, not his life or lifestyle. Everyone should die for him so that he can remain in power. He clearly doesn’t suffer from low self-esteem.

Compare this with Christian piety. We’re not supposed to take ourselves seriously. We take God seriously, and we care for others–even at our own expense.


  1. Thanks for posting this commentary. It was much better perspective than this one from Christianity Today...

    Marital Submission and Syria's First Lady: A Lesson for Christian Women

    ...with the subtitle "Asma al-Assad's inaction over her husband's unjust rule holds an important lesson for married Christians."
    Any God-centered perspective was swallowed up by the strained argument.

    The distancing from Vogue over previous pro-Asma commentary was more cohesive:

    “Massar in Arabic means path, destiny,” [Asma] said, “and destiny is created by the choices you make. Our project is about empowering this generation of young people to become active citizens, able to be part of the change the country’s going through.”

    Almost half the Syrian population was under 14, she said, and Massar “Green Teams” had gone around the country to share its tenets of active citizenship with 200,000 children.
    Most of all, I wondered about Massar and her project to empower 6 million young Syrians to become “active citizens.” “Part of the change,” she’d said.

    Was she conscious that by empowering the children of Syria to take charge of their destinies, she was feeding them to her husband’s torturers?

    What is consciousness when you are first lady of hell?

  2. The fight in Syria is between sunna and alawites (the ruling party). The Alawites are considered heretics to the larger sunna tradition and therefore are eligible to be slaughtered in jihad. Like virtually all inhouse islamic fights - it is the different clans/tribes which have historically adopted differing versions of Islam. The larger sunna interest, especially with the MB and the Al Queda types, is to install an Islamic Capiphate, Minor dictators ruling minor tracts of territory get in the way - which is what you have seen all over the arabic world in the "Arab Spring" (comical term if not tragic!). They are also part of Shia Islam, which is why they are supported by Iran. Assad could flee and maybe will flee, but he would be turning on his tribe.

    1. Bill, you're right. Part of what the Sunnis are upset about is that the Alawites have been protecting Christian freedom in Syria. It has been a hallmark of Syria that the country culturally and officially welcomes Christians and Muslims alike. When the Sunnis gain power, this will change. We have partnered with Syrian Christians in certain efforts overseas and pray for their continued effectiveness regardless of who ends up in power. Right now the borders are closed and our non-Syrian Arabic brothers have not been able to reenter the country they have called home for many years now.

  3. And the alternative to Assad is what? Another Muslim Brotherhood Al Quaeda Arab Spring? Assad is a bad guy, but as we survey the wreckage in the Mideast - Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt - due to unconstitutional meddling, warmongering and neo-con empire building, we don't need another CIA assisted revolution/coup. IOW just maybe, if it wasn't for that meddling, there wouldn't be the bloodbath that there is today.

    1. Your comment is utterly irrelevant to my post.