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Assad’s Dirty Jokes

The WikiLeaks #SyriaFiles reveal that before the revolution, Bashar al-Assad emailed Internet jokes about Gaddafi, women and watermelon. When the revolution began, he turned from clown to conspiracy theorist.

by Jean Marc Manach On July 20, 2012

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À propos de l'auteur

A 5 ans, j'ai gagné un poste TV. A 15, je voulais faire du ciné. A 17, je lançais un fanzine, underground. A 20, une revue, expérimentale. A 25, un journal gratuit, sur les "arts de l'écran". A 28, je découvrais le Net.

Journaliste internet depuis 1999, j'enquête sur la montée en puissance de la société de surveillance, @OWNI, pour LeMonde.fr (Bug Brother), sur Facebook & Twitter.


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On February 26, 2011, 15 days after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, who led Egypt since 1981, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sends an email with the subject line “New Word Added To Dictionary”.

Mubarak (verb): to stick something or to glue something. Example: “I’m going to punch you and then Mubarak you to the wall”, or “you can Mubarak the pieces to hold them together.”
Mubarak (adjective): slow to learn or understand something. Ex: “Why do you have to be so Mubarak?”
Mubarak (noun): a psychotic ex-girlfriend who doesn’t get that it’s over.

Of the 2,434,899 emails revealed by WikiLeaks, some of which Owni has had access to, there are 538 sent from sam@alshahba.com, the email address used by Bashar al-Assad. Most of these were sent before the start of the revolution in Syria, and concern internal affairs, while there are numerous exchanges with Assad’s personal translator.

There are no state secrets, and no revelations about the stranglehold of the Syrian security services, nor the support of Russia, China or Iran. There are, however, several dozen jokes, mostly in English, that the Syrian president-dictator sent to close associates, particularly his translator.

Some are quite funny and highbrow, but most are obscene and misogynistic. It’s a far cry from the glamorous image that the Syrian regime and its spokespeople have sought to create of the Assad’s, by pushing to the fore Bashar’s young and beautiful wife Asma. They reveal a man versed in the jokes certain men exchange about their wives, and a sense of humour that shows very little respect for women, or for that matter Islam.

The watermelon solution

In February 2010, in an email entitled “Women who know their place“, he relates how the American journalist Barbara Walters was surprised to see Afghan women still walking several paces behind their husbands, as had been the case during the Taliban era.

Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, ‘Why do you now seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?’
The woman looked Ms. Walters straight in the eyes, and without hesitation said, ‘Land mines’.

Moral of the story is (no matter what language you speak or where you go):
Behind every man, there’s a smart woman!

On March 16, 2010, Assad sends a series of jokes in Arabic making fun of Haifa Wehbe, suggesting that when the Lebanese singer dies, she’ll finally know what it’s like to sleep alone…among other such tasteful jokes.

There’s also the story of a man who can’t get rid of his intestinal worms. A doctor suggests that he cut a watermelon in half and sit on it, so that the nectar draws the worms out. One of the worms tastes the watermelon, but instead of attracting the worms out, the rest shout: “Bring us in the watermelon!

Whole pig, little sausage

On August 8, at 18:24, Bashar al-Assad forwards a chain email titled “Long live Bachelors!“, a compilation of anti-marriage quotes.

I don’t worry about terrorism. I was married for two years.
I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back home.
We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.

Four minutes later, at 18:28, Bashar Assad sends another email, titled “Aging Women” (sic), which includes the fact that “For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, sexy woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress.”

Ladies, I apologise. For all those men who say, ‘Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?’ here’s an update for you… Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realise it’s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!

On October 20, 2010, he sends his translator “Some mathematical calculations“, found on the web under the title “Romance Mathematics”.

Smart man + smart woman = romance
Smart man+dumb woman = affair
Dumb man+smart woman = marriage
Dumb man+dumb woman = pregnancy

A successful man makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

On December 23, he forwards a series of “Husband vs Wife” jokes, also copied and pasted from the Internet.

Wife: I wish I was a newspaper, so I’d be in your hands all day.
Husband: I too wish you were a newspaper, so I could have a new one everyday.

On November 5, 2010, he sends out a “hormone guide, to be taped to the refrigerator” that “women will understand (and that) men should memorise“. It explains that the best way to avoid having problems with women is to get them drunk.

On December 15, Assad sends on an email from his stepfather, Fawaz Akhras, entitled “British generosity“. It makes fun of the international aid sent to Pakistan after an imaginary earthquake which has killed 2 million people.

The USA is sending troops to help.  Saudi Arabia is sending oil.  Latin American countries are sending supplies. New Zealand is sending sheep, cattle and food crops.  The East Asians are sending labour to assist in rebuilding infrastructure.  Australia is sending medical teams and supplies.
Not to be outdone, Britain is sending back two million Pakistanis as replacements… God Bless British generosity.

The Guardian, which published an article which detailed how Fawaz Akhras had advised his step-son to downplay the number of civilian deaths in Syria, also mentioned the fact that Bashar had sent him several jokes from his iPhone, including one on the respective penis sizes of Nicolas Sarkozy, Binyamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama.

In a joke he sends on December 28, a nun goes to her mother superior to tell her she was raped.

- What should I do?
- Drink this bitter tea without sugar
- Will it restore my honor and purity?
- No, but it’ll take that happy look off your face

On December 31, Assad emails a story in which Bush and Obama are sitting in a bar and a guy walks up to them and asks what they are up to.

Bush: “We are planning for World War III.”
Guy: “Really, what’s going to happen?”
Bush: “Well, this time we are going to kill 140 Million people and Angelina Jolie..!”
Guy: “Angelina Jolie? Why Angelina Jolie?”
Bush Turns To Obama and says: “See! I told you no one would worry about 140 Million people!”

“Woo-hoo, what a ride!”

On January 20 2011, Assad emails a black and white video in the style of an old-fashioned Italian comedy.  It’s a TV ad from the company Belgacom, the tagline of which reads “Sometimes it’s Better to Stay Where You Are.”

On January 25, Bashar Assad sends another video attachment: Reopen911.wmv (4.1MiB), a round-up of several conspiracy theories surrounding the September 11 attacks.

The next day, Hasan Ali Akleh set himself on fire in protest against the Syrian government, an event seen as the opening salvo and symbol of the Syrian Spring.

On March 1, 2011, Bashar al-Assad sends a new email. This was 15 days after the first demonstrations in Libya, and a week after the famous televised speech in which Muammar Gaddafi promised to “cleanse Libya house by house” of all the “mercenaries, rats, criminal gangs and drug addicts” manipulated by Al-Qaida and the Americans.

Gaddafi said:
-Hey, people, without electricity, we’ll just have to sit and watch TV in the dark
-I am not a dictator that blocks Facebook, but I’ll arrest everyone who logs in there
-You can protest as much as you want, but just not in the streets or in public
-I will stay in Libya until I die, or my destiny will come to me.

On March 2, 2011, Bashar al-Assad forwards the advice of a doctor who recommends a nap rather than exercise, and prescribes drinking alcohol (because wine and beer are made from fruit and grains). The doctor also suggest not cutting down on fried foods and chocolate (because the food is fried in vegetable oil, and chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, “another vegetable!”), and warns against swimming (“If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me“).

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive
and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘Woo-hoo, what a ride!’

On March 27, 2011, with the uprising gaining momentum, and amid AFP claims that more than a hundred demonstrators had been killed by police, a close associate of Bashar al-Assad sends a particularly obsequious email explaining that a study had found that the hearts of almost all 24 million Syrians beat for Bashar al-Assad.  It would be impossible to freeze his assets because they’re not in Switzerland, but in the hearts of the Syrian people.

On March 28, Assad forwards an image which demonstrates how a photograph of people protesting with the Syrian flag in support of the Syrian president had been manipulated so as to suggest they are demanding his departure.

On July 25, he forwards a French translation of an Arabic video entitled “Sarkozy, how many kids did you kill tonight?”, accusing him of being responsible for the deaths of children killed in a NATO bombing in Libya.  The video was produced by Michel Collon, a Belgian journalist who, after publishing an essay on the “media lies” of NATO in Libya , recently wrote the introduction to a similar work, this time regarding the CIA’s “Syriana” plan to redesign the Middle East.

On September 24, he sends a link to a video (in Arabic) on the alleged close relationship between Al Jazeera and the CIA. It’s since been censored, but it can easily be found by searching the keywords “الجزيرة والمخابرات الأمريكية.. مين بيلعب فى دماغنا ؟؟“.

The last Assad email amongst WikiLeaks’ #SyriaFiles is cut and pasted from an article by Wayne Madsen, a former US soldier-turned-journalist and conspiracy theorist who specialises in intelligence, and is close to the Voltaire Network.

In this article, which draws on “several reliable sources,” Madsen says that the former US ambassador to Syria was responsible for recruiting “death squads” with units affiliated to Al-Qaida. These units, he claims, were sent to fight against soldiers and police loyal to the Syrian regime. He goes on to state that these terrorists also kill civilians, with the help of the Mossad, in order to undermine the Syrian government.

To Bashar al-Assad, that’s not a joke.


Thank you to Salam Hossam Aldeen, pseudonym of a Syrian journalist in exile in Paris (who is looking for work: contact presse AT OWNI.fr), and Pierre Leibovici (@pierreleibo on Twitter), who were a great help in investigating the #SyriaFiles.

Image Credits: Photo found in the emails of Bashar al-Assad, illustration by Loguy for Owni /-)

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