Son of a gun, didn’t know Bashar had it in him

I hardly ever post more than one blog a day, but news from Syria is coming in hard and fast, and I just couldn’t resist.

It became known within the last hour that, provided he gets away with his life, Assad can always retrain as a stand-up comedian. WikiLeak has just published 2.5 million e-mails exchanged by Syrian leaders. Apparently, 538 of them came from Assad personally, and most of those were jokes.

These first appeared in the French on-line magazine under the title of Assad’s Dirty Jokes. Well, dirty they aren’t, not by today’s lax standards. But, judging by most of them, if the Syrian leader is indeed planning a second career in stand-up comedy, he’ll probably have to work only the smaller clubs.

Here’s a small sample:

‘I always hold my wife by the hand when we walk in the street. If I let her go, she’ll run into a shop.’

‘What would you give your wife is she climbed Mount Everest? A gentle push.’

‘I’m not scared of terrorism. I’ve been married for two years.’

‘Bush: We’re going to start a Third World War and kill 140 million people, including Angelina Jolie. The public: But why Angelina Jolie? Bush, turning to Obama: You see, didn’t I tell you nobody would give a damn about the 140 million?’

I don’t know about this, Bashar. Frankie Boyle can do better than this on a bad day, and he only cracks jokes about Jordan.

A curious point: 68,000 of the intercepted e-mails are in Russian. If you’re surprised, you shouldn’t be: most Syrian leaders, especially of the military variety, were trained in Russia. Obviously humour wasn’t one of the subjects on the curriculum, though colloquial Russian clearly was.

Interestingly, even though Assad’s wife is British (well, British-born), she has, as the rumour has it, already escaped not to London but to Moscow. It must be the weather – or else her vague suspicion that she’d be more warmly welcomed by Putin than Dave.

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