A Syrian refugee in Turkey turned pale and she was all in tears starring at a man who was sitting on a café. She held her brother’s hand, as if she had seen a ghost, asking: “Who’s he?” Taken by surprise, her brother stood still for a few minutes before shouting: “Allahu Akbar, I can’t breathe, he resembles him, don’t worry.”
The man in question was just a Turkish look-alike to the late Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, and the reactions were justifiable based on the horrible history of the man, which resembled the atrocities committed by his son, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, against the Syrians.
To all Syrians, the name of Hafez al-Assad was always associated with fear and horror, which predominated his years in power. This explained why his statutes and pictures were damaged at the beginning of the 19-month-old uprising against his son. It was the people’s reaction to the long years of fear and dictatorship.
Pictures of the Turkish look-alike were posted on the Facebook pages of many Syrians, accompanied by funny and satirical comments, mocking the late dictator
Some commentators found it a good opportunity to seek revenge – even verbally – from the late president, who forced the Syrians to chant “Forever Hafez al-Assad” during his reign.
The history is full of examples, where blood-thirsty people remain a nightmare even after they pass away, similar to ‘Dracula’.
Similarly, some Russian villagers believe that Stalin is still alive, years after his death. And the same applies to some Iraqis who tell funny stories about Saddam Hussein, fearing that he might seek revenge if comes back.