While we constantly hear news about bombings, massacres and bloodshed in Syria, let’s not try to sideline the lighter side of affairs going on backstage. These ‘affairs’ include the glamorous side of a man who is constantly being projected as the tyrant. With his 22-year-old aide and the Grande dame of American television news, Barbara Walters – the image projected of Bashar Ak Assad is quite a different one. All these players prepare the perfect cocktail to distract anyone from the distressing situation ongoing in Syria.
In a string of emails leaked by Syrian opposition forces it is revealed that Sheherazad Jafaari, the 22-year-old former aide of Assad and daughter of Syria’s US ambassador sought career counseling advises and was an adoptive daughter to prominent American broadcast journalist Barbara Walters. More importantly, the celebrated broadcaster promised to help Ms Jafaari in securing a job on Piers Morgan's CNN show and win a place at Columbia University.
Ms Walters who has had friendly terms with Sheherazad’s father for nearly seven years could not refuse her request. Even though she soon realized that it was too tough a task to accomplish as Sheherazad had failed to prove herself at either of the platforms.
And those leaked emails? They paint Ms. Jafaari as someone who was pretty much in love with the Syrian dictator, Assad, and referred to him as ‘The Dude’!
The disclosures made by emails also unravel that Sheherazad with her international approach was able to arrange an interview for her ‘Dude’ with Barbara Walters, the first journalist to interview Assad back in December in the midst of violent uprisings in the country that left thousands dead.
The lobbied interview played a pivotal role in providing Assad the opportunity to clarify the position of Syrian government regarding the chaos. With the emergence of all these emails there are a couple of things that are crystal clear.
Firstly, even extremely senior journalists like Barbara Walters sometimes find it hard to separate the ethics and responsibilities of their profession from their relationships. Secondly, Assad who is commonly referred to as ‘the family guy’ was actually more concerned about ‘a glamorous family’ than the crisis Syria was getting into.