Thousands back video appeal to Syria’s first lady ‘to stand up for peace’

Asmaa al-Assad, 36, is a known follower of Paris fashion and designer labels. (File photo)

Thousands have backed a video appeal to Syria’s first lady to speak out against violence, made by the wives of the British and German ambassadors to the United Nations.

In the video, Sheila Lyall Grant and Huberta von Voss-Wittig implore Asmaa al-Assad “to stand up for peace” and speak out against the deadly crackdown instigated by her husband President Bashar al-Assad.

More than 13,000 people viewed the Letter to Asmaa video in the first hours it was put up on YouTube and thousands signed the online petition.

“This started as a private, personal initiative from Huberta and me -- independent of the U.N. or our governments. We only launched it this morning and since then it’s grown exponentially, which shows how women all over the world, from all walks of life, have supported this message,” said Lyall Grant, wife of Britain’s U.N. ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

“Some women care for style and some women care for their people,” the narrator says against a backdrop of images of the glamorous president’s wife interspersed with images of children killed in the 13-month Syrian uprising.

Asmaa al-Assad, 36, was born in London and married Assad in 2000, the year he became president. She is a known follower of Paris fashion and designer labels.

But the video says: “Some women struggle for their image and some women struggle for survival. Stop your husband and his supporters. Stop being a bystander. No one cares about your image; we care about your actions.”

“We want women all over the world to send a clear message to Asmaa al-Assad that the bloodshed must come to an end,” Voss-Wittig, the wife of Germany’s U.N. ambassador Peter Wittig, told AFP.

“We want this message to bring her to lead by good example” and break the silence, she added.

“Mr and Mrs Assad are monsters. They will just laugh at this video but thank you for creating it nonetheless,” commented one viewer on the YouTube web site.

In France, actress Catherine Deneuve, director Costa Gavras and former France World Cup winner footballer Lilian Thuram were among stars to donate their photos for another initiative bringing attention to the 13-month-old uprising.

Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe joined 200 people at the Trocadero place opposite the Eiffel Tower on Tuesday to launch the White Wave for Syria campaign with the International League of Human Rights.

The campaign encourages people to write “Stop” on a white textile and put pictures on the website.

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