SYRIA

A sketch from Syria: ‘I’ve got Bashar on the phone!’

A protester in this video, filmed during a demonstration in Syria's flashpoint city of Homs,

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A protester in this video, filmed during a demonstration in Syria's central flashpoint city of Homs, mocks President Bashar Al-Assad’s promises of reform, which were offered in response to months of often deadly anti-government protests.

 

Mockery is a weapon used often by dissident movements, whether it is the Spanish "Indignados" or the revolutionaries of the Arab world. Before their ousted leader fled the country, Tunisians made jokes about former president Ben Ali and his wife that were freely circulated on social networks. And the Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square also got creative at times.

 

But there has been no sign of satire in the Syrian movement until now. As the death toll reaches more than 1,300 and some 10,000 others have been arrested, jokes might seem to be in bad taste. But not for this protester, whose prank call reminded the Syrians that they have a sense of humour, even as they push for meaningful political reform.

 

 

 

Narrator: He’s speaking to Bashar al-Assad on the telephone!

 

Man: Bashar said he’s going to give 50,000 Syrian pounds to everyone (about €700)!

 

Crowd: We don’t want it!

 

Man: It is a social benefit of 50,000 pounds every month!

 

Crowd: We don’t want it!

 

Man: Social benefits of 50,000 a month and the people don’t want it! Plus a car and an apartment!

 

Crowd: We don’t want it!

 

Man: But what do the people want, then?

 

Crowd: The people want the regime to fall!