As Syria burns, black humour thrives

2012-08-21 12:02
(AFP, File)

(AFP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - Faced with a bloody conflict that has gripped their country for the past 17 months, many Syrians have opted for humour as a weapon to mock both Bashar Assad's regime and their own daily struggles.

"Dear defectors, the Syrian revolution is taking place in Syria, not in Turkey," read banners at several protests, mocking defectors who have chosen to keep their distance from the battlefield after fleeing north across the border.

And the defection to Paris of the regime's former golden boy, Manaf Tlass, prompted protesters in Kfar Nabal village in northwest Idlib province - who have become well-known for their witty slogans -- to raise a banner reading:

"The Charles de Gaulle Brigade led by Brigadier General Manaf Tlass has seized control of the Champs Elysees!"

The state of the opposition, destruction caused by the ongoing battle between Assad's forces and rebels, unemployment, falling incomes, a lack of daily necessities, local peculiarities, defections... all are now fair game for increasingly dark Syrian jokes.

Residents of Homs, often mocked by the rest of the country for their so-called naivety and lack of intellect, won plaudits nationwide for their resolve against regime forces when their town was hammered by the Syrian army, to the point that their city was nicknamed the "Capital of the Revolution."

'No men here'

But, so the joke goes, their supposed naivety was a problem for authorities because whenever they imposed a curfew, residents would flock onto the streets to check it out.

Or: In Homs city, a resident plays with a rocket. When his friend warns him to be careful because it might go off, he reassures him there's nothing to worry about because the army will simply fire some more.

Other jokes play on Homs's reputation as a particularly conservative city:

A couple from Homs decide to visit Aleppo, Syria's commercial capital, before it became the site of brutal battles between rebels and the regime.

They walk through Aleppo's streets and after two hours without hearing any explosions or seeing any demonstrations, the husband tells the wife: "You can take off your veil now, there mustn't be any men here."

More than anything else, defections have become a firm favourite of rebel humour.

'I pledge not to defect'

One joke goes that Assad has demanded that his Sunni vice-president Faruq al-Shara, the subject of defection rumours, sleep with him in the same room so he cannot escape, forcing the president's wife Asma to move to the couch.

Another depicts Assad standing in front of a sign listing all of the security services and ministries he has decided to take charge of, with the president saying: "At least I don't have to worry now about any ministers defecting."

And one cartoon depicts a new minister being sworn in by Assad, with the official saying: "I pledge not to defect."

The recent defection to Jordan of Riad Hijab, prime minister at the time, sparked jokes that Jordanian authorities now have the following signs at border crossings: Jordanians, Arabs, Foreigners, Diplomats, and Deserting Syrian Officials.

Increasing deprivation has also been a source of humour.

One joke has it that Syrians were convinced they would win a gold medal at the recent 2012 Olympics in London if one of the events had been climbing a staircase with a gas cylinder.

Another goes that a man returns home with a live chicken for dinner. But, his wife tells him, the family no longer has a knife to slaughter the bird, nor do they have gas to cook it with.

Upon hearing the news, the chicken begins clucking: "Long live Bashar! Long live Bashar!"

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Makeover saves dog’s life

Lucky Charlie got a complete make-over that helped him get adopted.



For the love of Corgis!
Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.