Bashar and Hafez around town, some more

In response to a few of the comments from the last post: I am purposely refraining from making this a politically centered article, much less a politically centered blog. I am posting these pictures because I find them to be so uniquely Syrian, and I think they say a lot about the culture that produced them - whether or not you agree with all the political implications.

Plus, they're fun.

Also, I take issue with the claim that these kinds of pictures are only on pro-Assad people's cars, homes, shops, etc, as well as the claim that they're all government made (however, it is true that most of these excerpted photos are probably from such sources). But if you try to tell me that "the government" produced a sticker of Bashar al-Assad with his wife and kids surrounded by a superimposed rose garden and encircled by a gaudily pink glitter heart (such a sticker is in my actual possession), and then chose to distribute it to the public by having a guy selling it and others like it on Jesr ar-Rais, then I'm sorry, but I don't believe you. There has to be a market for such things in order for them to be (so shoddily and kitschily) produced - and I don't think it's necessarily a statement of full support (or fear!) of the regime for someone to buy one.

Politics (mostly) aside, I bring you a few more pictures from around Syria.

This poster is hanging next to the entrance to the Souq al-Hamadiyye, not far from the statue of Salah ad-Din. It says, "God will protect Syria."

My only regret about this picture is that it's so blurry, because it has one of our favorite posters on it. Do you see Bashar in the picture above the bus? Then, do you see the ghost of his father hanging out over his shoulder? Even if the symbolism was unintended, it's brilliant.

There is also a poster we used to see in many places that actually had a picture of the heads of Hafez, Basil, and Bashar, kind of floating on a black background. We used to call this one (irreverence alert!) the Trinity. You know: father, son, and holy ghost.

Here is a sign celebrating Bashar's recent win in the election. That's all I will say about it.

This is actually a gorgeous mural not far from the road to Baramkeh. I think there is a similar, bigger one in the Panorama museum, but that one focuses more on the diverse peoples of Syria. This one has a few of those elements, but also some representations of events in recent history. See, for example, the dam built with Soviet cooperation in the north of Syria.

I think this one takes the cake. What more needs to be said about a cult of personality than that there exists on the road outside of Aleppo a giant picture of Bashar al-Assad's head? And that it's not even a flattering picture? (It's almost as bad as the one of Hafez that's hanging up in the border crossing areas, where he looks like he's suffering from a bad case of rosacea.)

I heard that Bashar himself actually requested that people not display photos of him or his family, presumably in order to stop the image worship that started with his father. I wonder if this was the photo that spurred that request. If so, I don't think I blame him.

Jesr ar-Rais: The Transportation Underbelly of Damascus

Bashar and Hafez around town