A Sad Story of Syrian Celebrity

May 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Syrian actor and comedian Durayd Laham  (also referred to by the name of his famous character Ghawar) is one of the best-known and well-liked Syrian performers in the region. That is, until a video surfaced at the beginning of March showing Laham and Qaddhafi, along with other Syrian actors and musicians, getting cozy at a party at Laham’s home in Damascus after the 2008 Arab Summit. The video was released well before demonstrations hit Damascus, but during the height of international media coverage of Qaddhafi’s brutality in Libya.

Laham has since told the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar:

It’s not possible for anyone with a shred of humanity to accept what is happening in Libya.

Then, al-Akhbar paraphrases him as saying that he “condemns the oppression of demonstrators who have come out to express their opinions.”

Two months after his al-Akhbar interview, and two months into the largest popular demonstrations Syria has seen in decades, Ghawar doesn’t think it best to afford the Syrian people the type of freedom of expression he advocated for Libyans. In an interview with al-Arabiya, Laham said that the Syrian Army is preserving “civil peace.” During the interview, al-Arabiya states that Laham mostly slurred the protestors in Syrian dialect, so they couldn’t reprint his words exactly.

Laham did have sharp words for Palestinian-Israeli commentator Azmi Bishara, who has been critical of the Syrian regime:

Syria considered him a friend, and on this basis, we dealt with him. But he was wearing the devil’s cloak.

Bye, Ghawar. I’ll miss you.

(The above is a clip from the Syrian movie Salt and Sugar, a musical comedy set inside a prison. Thanks to Adam for the al-Arabiya tip!)

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