"It was President Assad’s interview with RT in 2012 that started to wake me up about Syria in the first place. Until I watched that, I could not have picked out a picture of him or perhaps not even been able to confidently locate Syria on a map. I was an all-too-typical American, full of opinions about the Middle East but empty of knowledge, understanding or in many ways I’m ashamed to say, empathy.
While acting as Commander in Chief during one of the most complex and brutal conflicts in history, against an array of enemies including the US, UK, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and of course the Muslim Brotherhood, President Assad has also had to fight an unprecedented information war against the most well-coordinated and sophisticated media propaganda blitzes ever seen. This dark, false narrative has supported the terrorists on the ground and the diplomatic terrorism that’s been employed against Syria by every major western country and their allies as well as the UN.
That is all in addition to running a country in wartime and in the most conflicted region in the world.
Yet I have watched him rise to each challenge. He and the First Lady are exemplary in my opinion and personal heroes of mine now. Have mistakes been made? I would be shocked if there weren’t; he is human after all and these are extraordinary times. However, the foundation he was and is trying to build of quality secular education, health care, sciences and technology, opening and growing of the economy and tourism, respect and protection for women , all religious and people groups, is positive and productive. I particularly appreciate the Assads’ devotion and commitment to the younger generation. They know that that is where real change begins to defeat extremism. I am heartbroken when I consider what the past several years would be have looked like had the west and allies not intervened to try to crush the prosperity and stability that was growing."
US Peace Activist, Janice Kortkamp, January 17, 017.