Bashar Al Assad

When Bashar Al Assad’d dad Hafez al Assad

Died, possible heirs having faced the firing squad

He was the unanimous choice for president

Hafez ne’er had time for opinions dissident

Of the lion in his name he thought nobility

A luxury using only blood lust and cruelty

The few who stuck their heads above the parapet

Received a quick visit from the Mukhabaret

And were thereafter never seen and heard no more

Folks hoped that Bashar would stick to the rule of law

Assad Père did not believe in negotiation

To him the slightest dissent was provocation

If one man said something to which he took umbrage

He sent his planes to bomb and burn his whole village.

His military was no match ‘gainst Israel

So next best thing, he bombed his own people to hell.

Hama City was home to nearly a million

Devout Syrians who cared much about religion

They were mainly Sunnis and viewed with suspicion

Talking to an opponent is simply not done

When one is in possession of a modern gun

To best deal with opponents, Assad understood

You begin by calling them Muslim Brotherhood.

Then you give your ruthless brother Rifaat free rein

Gas launchers, armoured vehicles tanks and airplanes

Order him to sort out this li’l local problem

And any rebellion with a show force to stem.

The cost of the Hama massacre was between

Said the U.N., fifteen thousand deaths to eighteen

To which Rifaat sneered, that’s nothing to celebrate

The exact figure in thousands is thirty eight.

After his plot against brother Hafez was foiled

He escaped with his life to Old London, well-oiled

With billions in his suitcases ready to buy

Twenty-six million pounds mansions on the sly.

From there he jetted to Geneva or Paris

Seen at casinos, signing deals, dining at the Ritz

Taken to court by the French this was the judgement

Guilty as charged of laundering and embezzlement

The billions were a gift from a Saudi royal

Was thrown out as, euphemistically, surreal

He was sentenced to four years of firm detention

But was found to have a medical condition.

After half a century of Ba-athist repression

People hoped that there’d be some relaxation

When Bashar took over, Syrians had expected

A conciliator with a sound reformist head.

He might have tried this path if he only knew how

But tho’ he’d learnt the eye he’d never learnt powwow.

He promised more democracy, more freedom

But he was lacking in diplomatic wisdom,

Full ten years at the helm and nothing much had changed

Which made his rapport with his people more estranged

Children in Dar’a wrote slogans ‘gainst poverty

Were arrested, beaten with clubs witout pity.

Their mothers and fathers gathered in the town square

And warned the government of their wrath to beware

Bashar only recalled his father’s reaction

And decided on the same course of action

He despatched army and police armed to the teeth

Told them, Don’t come back until you restore complete peace.

The fragile peace between Sunni and Alawite

He did not foster but fed to it dynamite.

He too knew that the safest, the easiest battle

Was the one you declare against your own people.

He had little truck with talks and conciliation

An opponent exists for elimination.

Russian and Iranian friends promised massive aid

Whilst western help was not forthcoming or delayed.

His father had not taught him wisdom only guile

Brand your enemy islamist and shoot him in style.

At a stroke he turned folks demanding more freedom

Into jihadists aiming for Allah’s kingdom.

Potential backers of the opposition

Swallowed the lie reinforcing his position.

He sent in tanks and attack helicopters

To Homs, Baniyas to cut off gas and water

And electricity, bombed buildings and food depots

Turning towns and cities into ground zero

Then the Syrian Liberation Army appeared

Under armed, undermanned, their manuals dog-eared

It was a full-scale fratricidal civil war

Fought to the death, pitilessly, no hold barred.

They stood no chance against the might of Vlad Putin

Firebombed, subjected to napalm and sarin.

The rebels fought hard and some provinces they won

But in the end lost them all one by one.

Bashar will be remembered for the part he played

In the destiny of the half million Syrians slayed

In the misery of five and a half million

Refugees despatched to oblivion

Because a man with no gift of leadership

Had the arrogance to grab the helm and steer the ship



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San Cassimally

San Cassimally


Prizewinning playwright. Mathematician. Teacher. Professional Siesta addict.