December 27, 2006
You Can't Be Syria's? Ambassador Blogging
The envoy to USA from Syria apparenlty maintains a personal blog. I'll leave it to our distinguished readership to assess the value or lack thereof, and the deeper sociopolitical meaning. In the meantime, I kind of enjoyed his linking to this survey by Sami Moubayed of Syrian women's rights activities (which, I would note, apparently did indeed exist before the Levantine Boadicea of You Tube, Wafa Sultan, so bravely invented them from -- where was it? -- California, circa 2005.)
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The ambassador's blog is very apolitical. It's an interesting perspective of his life and interests--he's a decent man.
And Wafa Sultan is not a unique individual, in any way.
Posted by: Yaman at December 27, 2006 03:22 AM
About the Moubayed piece, it was interesting to read until the very end. The second to last paragraph was borderline misogynistic, and the last one was a little too cheesy. Also, the analysis on women's status under the Assad regime is very weak and apologetic. It just looks at their positions in officialdom, but addresses no social or economic questions especially in the arena of personal status laws. This is like looking at Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice and saying, look, there is race equality in the United States and George W Bush loves black people!
Posted by: Yaman at December 27, 2006 04:03 AM
Amusingly, that blog was blocked as of the last time I was in Syria
Posted by: homais at December 27, 2006 04:11 AM
The Syrian envoy looks like a good uppercrusty diplomat who could be from anywhere in the world with his well-fed air and the nice furniture and art. I can't imagine he'd be blogging without any strategic consideration, though can't think what that might be - show the Americans that Syrians can be good old boys too, and aren't always humourless apparatchiks? Dunno. Homais, that's funny about his blog being blocked in Syria.
Posted by: SP at December 27, 2006 09:59 AM
Moustapha holds a PhD in computer science (admittedly, from a UK school ...) and was involved with the Syrian Computer Society, which began operating during the last days of Hafez al-Assad's regime. He had a website long before starting a blog - you can view it by going through his current blog. In other words: before he was an ambassador, he was a computer geek. The politics he represents in his current position may be questionable, but his devotion to internet computing should not be.
Posted by: Andrea at December 27, 2006 02:13 PM
The art shown on his blog presents contemporary art in Syria as challenging to the viewer (apparently influenced by Western modern art in this regard) and usually nonpolitical. Showing that artists in Syria are free to be artistically challenging and nonpolitical, rather than being pressured by the Syrian state to make their art accessible and didactic as in socialist realism, is good for the image of Syria.
This article talks about his outreach efforts with the American Syrian Jewish community. It doesn't sound like he's made it to a lot of weddings or bar mitzvahs, but the community delegation to Syria he arranged seems like a major accomplishment to me.
Posted by: ziz at December 30, 2006 02:06 PM
Heard from a very credible source in the Syrian community in Washington, DC that the blog is not written by Imad Moustapha. The source happened to know the ambassador since he was the dean of college of Computer Sciene in Damascus University. Also, if any of you wonder how Imad made the leap from academia to diplomacy, you should look no further than his wife, who has a sister married to one of the toughest cookies in the Assad regime. He got Imad the "job".
Posted by: Saqr at January 6, 2007 11:52 PM