The funny thing about the Reuters report on Asma and Bashar al-Assad trying to distance themselves from the notion that they were glamorpussing around buying iTunes tracks while Syria burned, is how very much like a society write-up it sounds. As the un-bylined report describes, Asma in particular has been taking criticism for appearing in a Vogue profile last year, just as her husband started the bloody crackdown that nobody can figure out how to end. A group of ambassadors' wives put out a video calling on Asma al-Assad to stop standing around and get involved with helping the Syrian people. So the Assads rolled up their sleeves and started in on some humanitarian work (as opposed to, you know, pulling back the army), and wound up getting a totally society pages-style writeup from Reuters:
For Wednesday's appearance Asma avoided any hint of glamour, dressing down in a sheer pink sweater over a simple dress with her dark blonde hair soberly braided and pinned up.
Her tall, gangly husband looked relaxed, towering above his admirers in a polo shirt with an identity pass on a ribbon around his neck like other volunteers. The two packed boxes, sealed them with Scotch tape and carried them over to stacks of aid awaiting distribution.
It's like a report from a party, until you get to the next line: "Assad is held responsible by Western and Arab governments for the deaths of over 9,000 Syrians in a crackdown on dissent that began 13 months ago as his autocratic rule was challenged, first by peaceful protesters and now by a rebel army." Ah, right, that whole mess. But some boxes of flour, sugar, oil, and pasta for people in cities like Homs ought to smooth things out a bit.