And just who is the ‘Sexy Brit‘? Asma Al-Assad, of course.
This story tells me two things: first the Syrian government is finally realising the power of Asma to rebrand Syria’s image in the West.
And second, it speaks volumes of the Sun’s cheap racism. The Sun is Britain’s biggest newspaper, read by 3 million people a day (The Guardian, in comparison, gets around 300,000 readers). The Sun is a right-wing, reactionary, flag-waving, nationalist newspaper (“support our boys” at war in Iraq). It is also populist and demagogical. So of course, it would be a sexy Brit not a sexy Arab.
The first paragraph of the article is dedicated to Asma’s sexiness:
“She likes to show off her willowy form in figure-hugging jeans and her mousy brown hair is cut in a stylish flicked bob.”
And the second to her Britishness:
“Born in the west London suburb of Acton, she speaks with a cut-glass English accent and her childhood friends called her Emma.”
But the Sun’s article does portray her as modern, a peacemaker, and representing everything that George Bush thought Syria was not. It also challenges a whole list of stereotypes about Syria. And for that, we must be grateful.