DAMASCUS, Syria — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has launched an aggressive campaign to clean up his reputation as one of the world’s most violent, cruel, and heartless dictators by opening an Instagram account and posting pictures of him and his wife doing a series of truly boring, mundane things.
Photos on the account, posted under the username “syrianpresidency,” show al-Assad smiling with supporters, visiting wounded soldiers in hospitals, and shuffling papers at his desk. “We wanted to share the truth about President al-Assad with the world,” explained Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. “He is a very boring man. So boring, in fact, that there is no need for sanctions against his nation. But don’t just take our word for it, look at the photos yourself.”
Since an uprising in March of 2011 against President al-Assad’s rule, the country has dissolved into a civil war that has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Syrians. Al-Assad’s brutal retaliation against the uprising, which some allege has included the use of chemical weapons against his own people, has led to a nearly-global condemnation of his regime. Yet experts combing through the dozens of photographs uploaded to the President’s official Instagram account were unable to find any examples of al-Assad or any of his followers maiming, torturing, or dismembering opposition forces.
“It’s strange,” said Ahmad al-Jarba, president of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. “I scroll through the pictures and I don’t see the tyrannical maniac who has butchered his own people in his drive to hold onto power. I see a non-assuming-yet-casually-handsome man who loves his wife and kisses babies.
“Maybe we should rethink this whole uprising business,” he added.
Mekdad promised that even more mind-numbingly boring images would be uploaded soon. “We have a whole series of the President doing laundry, as well as a candid shot where we catch him scraping something sticky off of his shoe,” he said. “And in November, we’re going to post a very special image of the President taking a nap.”
World leaders across the board have admitted softening their stance on the once-ostracized leader. “We are reconsidering our position on the Syrian comflict in light of these new photos,” confirmed American Secretary of State John Kerry. “Anyone who can smile and hold a cute baby in a scripted moment deserves the benefit of the doubt.”
“I mean for all we know, he only used chemical weapons on people who really, really deserved it,” he added.