On January 30, 2019 Bahia Mardini, a Syrian Kurdish journalist, author and human rights activist and a former media consultant to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, published an letter to Asma Al-Assad, the wife of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. In the letter, published on the Saudi liberal website Elaph.com, Mardini accused Asma Al-Assad of letting the Syrian people down by supporting her husband's massacres and thus becoming a full partner in these crimes. Hinting at Asma's recent brush with cancer, Mardini noted that serious illness often prompts people to examine their conscience, and urged Asma Al-Assad to take this opportunity to reconsider her position and stop her husband from continuing the slaughter.
Bahia Mardini (Source: alaraby.co.uk, January 2, 2018)
The following are translated excerpts from the article:
"It takes an intense emotional turning point in a person's life – like an illness, the illness of a loved one, or the death of someone close – to cause that person to honestly face his past and take stock of himself and those close to him. It appears to be too late for Syria, for the war has gone on for a long time, the ranks have broken and all the masks have fallen, and officials, dignitaries and ordinary folks are all equal in the face of criticism. Nevertheless, the holders of official position are required, more than others, to account for themselves [and answer the following questions]: how did they [behave]? How they are [behaving] now? What did they do to people? What did they do to children? Did they have the power to stop the war and the killing machine? What are they doing now and what do they propose to do in the future?
"When the destruction [of Syria] was just beginning, we were told that you, Asma Al-Assad, were opposed to the war and had spoken out against your husband's intention to massacre civilians and oppositionists, and we believed [it]. But you very quickly dashed [this] hope... when you announced that you stood by your husband, and were thus transformed from a rose in the desert into a leading partner in the war. We expected that, as someone who had enjoyed the protection of democracy and freedom in London, the world capital of dialogue, diversity, and pluralism, you would take a firm stand, a different stand. We told [ourselves] that you, Emma, as your friends used to call you at school, would stand on the side of virtue, of the people and of free will.
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"The projects [you are involved in], funded by the UN or by governments that are trying to remain neutral [in the Syrian crisis], and the pictures of you [caring for] a sick child or smiling [at] a wounded mother – [none of these] will absolve you of responsibility...
"Now you [must] employ security guards to escort your children everywhere... and they cannot travel freely without curses of 'murderer' and 'murder' being hurled at them. They are enveloped in fear that doesn't look much different from the fear that you instill in your [Syrian] citizens and their children before saying to them, 'Come back to the bosom of your homeland,' just so you can condemn them to imprisonment.
"The great fear that pursues you is [the fear of] Allah, for the Syrian knows that he has been wronged and that sooner or later Allah will defeat his oppressors. As for you – your hopes will become the failed victory that your corrupt media present [as a true victory].
"[Asma,] today you have the opportunity to take stock. You are standing at a fateful juncture, on [the threshold of] a new step. Ask yourself: how much longer? Don't look into your husband's eyes, for money and power will not avail you. When you awaken from the anesthetic encased in a false halo, remember only that you awakened to stop the disaster and the destruction and to say to your husband: 'Enough, no more' – and not to encourage him by telling him, 'You behaved rightly,' just in order to hold on to power and a handful of dollars, and [so that the Assad] family can rule forever as it swims in blood."
 A Rose in the Desert was the title of a Vogue article about Asma Al-Assad published several months before the start of the Syrian uprisings against the Assad regime. See web.archive.org/web/20110329085142/http://www.vogue.com/vogue-daily/article/asma-al-assad-a-rose-in-the-desert.
 Elaph.com, January 30, 2019.