Syria: Reactions to President Assad's Speech

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

President Bashar Al Assad finally made a speech on Wednesday 30 March, 2011, at the Syrian Parliament after days of postponement and anticipation. The president's arrival at the Parliament was met with thundering applause and chanting by the Members of Parliament, and his speech was often interrupted by an MP reciting poems of praise.

Billboard showing Syrian President President Bashar Al Assad, July 2010. Image by Flickr user sharnik (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Billboard showing Syrian President President Bashar Al Assad, July 2010. Image by Flickr user sharnik (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Twitter users did not receive this well. @syrianrebels tweeted:

الشعب يريد إسقاط مجلس الشعب

The people want to bring down the Parliament

and Al Jazeera's Muhammad Basheer added:

الشعب يريد إسقاط النفاق

The People want to bring down hypocrisy

Wael Alwani, a Syrian student in Saudi chimes in:

للأسف أشعر بالخزي من مجلس الشعب هذا … انا سوري و هذا المجلس لا يمثلني … مجلس نفاق

Unfortunately I feel disgraced by this Parliament … I'm Syrian and this Parliament doesn't represent me … Hypocrisy Parliament

Ayman, a Syrian expat, announced his first hope for the anticipated reforms:

I hope reforms starts with sacking such an embarrassing Parliament

Syrian blogger and twitter user Sasa (@syrianews) offered suggestions to improve the situation:

4 things: stop chanting, STOP. stop blaming al jazeera. stop blaming foreigners. start announcing something, #basharspeech

Shadi Hamid tweets a short version of Assad's speech for those who missed it:

Short version Bashar speech: reforms maybe. Foreign conspiracies definitely. Satellite channels are bad #Syria

@AnonymousSyria commented:

A regime of resistance against reform, it's our responsibility to fix it, on Friday, not within 10 years like he's said! #Syria

And as the speech ended without offering any tangible reforms, Twitter users proceeded to express their frustrations and disappointment. Syriancitizen said:

فعلاً يابشار كنت خارج التوقعات جميعها. كنا نتوقع أن ترمي بالفتات وإصلاحات شكلية. أما مجرد خطبة عصماء وكفى!!!!!! #syria

Really Bashar you exceeded all expectations. We expected that you would throw us scraps and meaningless reforms, but all you had was a hollow speech!!!

Dina Jaffary agrees with the general sentiment of people who watched the speech, she said:

surprisingly the one speech that should have been perfect among all his great speeches is the only bad one…#basharspeech

And Seleucid adds:

I am Syrian. My Country always makes me proud, especially when their leaders don't.

RevolutionistSY was fed up, he tweeted:

شباب انا رايح اسمع سميح شقير .. يا حيف بس يا حيف .. اكتفيت من هالمهزلة .. تصبحو ع وطن #Syria #15March

Guys I'm going to listen to Samih Shqeir.. O Shame, O shame .. I have had enough of this farce .. may you wake up to a homeland

He was referring to a song called O shame, dedicated for the martyrs of Daraa. The song is by Samih Shqeir, a Syrian singer renowned for his patriotic songs. The song is in the video below available with English subtitles (click on CC icon to display them).

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

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