Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bashar al-Assad: A study in Political Schizophrenia

Bashar al-Assad, embattled and embittered President of Syria, has prolonged the forty-plus year dynasty of the Alawite clan dominating Syria. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, but in Assad's case, it has deranged him, just as he has driven his nation to the breaking point.

Politically speaking, Assad is a delusional paranoid schizophrenic; and under the thrall of this mad dictator, the Syrian people have struggled through a haze of political insanity. Their rebellion, their open, vocal yearning for freedom, is the treatment for normalcy.

As repressive regimes come, the Syrian tyranny is inherently schizophrenic. Drawing on President Assad's current outbursts, one can easily identify the clinical symptoms of the illness. Schizophrenics unreasonably believe that someone or some group is out to get them. In Assad's case, having deceived the people into believing that Israel and the United States are the enemy, he now certainly has every reason to be afraid. His own people have risen up against him. Yes, Mr. Assad, there is a group of people out to get you, the very people whom you and your family have persecuted these last four decades!

Schizophrenics also experience delusions and audible hallucinations. Assad is blaming the rising protests throughout Syrian on a foreign conspiracy stirring up trouble. Assad ludicrously claims that there is no need for reform in his country, which has languished beneath baseless emergency rule for 48 years. However, the audible shouts for reform rising up from the Syrian people are no deranged hallucination, but the palliative cry of liberating spirits.

In clinical settings, schizophrenia renders the patient unable to take care of himself or communicate with anyone. He eventually becomes a danger to himself and to others. Like any schizophrenic patient, Assad has isolated himself form the world, while cutting of his people from any meaningful contact with the outside world. Furthermore, Assad suffers from the laughable delusion that Syria does not need reform. His obstreperous behavior has harmed and endangered the lives of Arabs throughout the Middle East and the greater good of the world.

Fortunately, schizophrenia is treatable. For the plague that torments Syria and the Middle East at large, a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy will not suffice. The Syrian people are applying the proper prognosis: a massive dose of reality: protests, uprisings, and overt challenges to the status quo. As in medical cases, the treatment for schizophrenia can last for the rest of the patient's life. In the case of Mr. Assad and the Syrian people, his life-long hiatus from power would be an acceptable treatment for himself, his people, and the international community.

1 comment:

  1. "Syrian President Wavers Between Crackdown and Compromise Amid Protests" Reuters March 28, 2011.

    Nothing says "Schizophrenic like a double-minded man."

    Why cocede anything? To hold onto power, yet concessions would further undermine any legitimacy which Assad and family insist on abrogating to themselves.

    He is not just double-minded, he is damned, damned if he do, damned if he don't.