Back in the pre-Arab Spring days, the Egyptian daily al-Ahram attempted to pull the wool over the eyes of Egyptians by presenting a photo-shopped picture of Hosni Mubarak (see below) walking in front of US President Obama in a ceremony to initiate the start of another round of peace talks between Israel and Palestine (Obama was actually walking in the lead, if that was not obvious). The Egyptian media was subsequently and justly mocked for trying to make Mubarak look like more than a simple figurehead in the soon-to-be failed peace talks – and for making such an absurd effort at it. After that debacle, one would think that Middle Eastern leaders would learn the lessons of terrible photo shop jobs. Apparently not.
Beleaguered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government has released a clearly doctored photo of the President swearing-in the new governor for Hama, Anas Abdul-Razzaq Naem. Looking at the photo, it is clear that something is amiss. Take a glance at the feet of Assad (on the right) – the President’s feet are on a different plane than Naem’s. (Perhaps Assad learned to hover, though I’m only 50-50 on that possibility, considering his recent ascent to leader of all nations.)
For all its humor (Syria certainly needs some humor now-a-days), one – specifically, Mustapha from Beirut Spring, wonders why the Syrians would need to photo shop this photo: “Is the security situation of the president so fragile that he can’t even conduct his usual business? Could the governor not make the trip from Hama because the situation is that out of control?” Though wondering why the government photo-shopped the picture is certainly valid, I am more inclined to wonder about the implications of such a terrible doctoring job. Have all the photo shoppers in Syria gone over to the opposition? Everyone knows that the most loyal Syrians are expert photo shoppers – what does this mean for the support of Assad in Syria?