Farid Ghadry

Putin bigger, Assad lasts longer

For those of us who believe in evolution, here is a story to make this Sabbath a bit more colorful.

The story starts with an interview former President George Bush gave and it ends in an ancient ape discovery in Spain.

Trust me, there is a connection.

During his interview with his host and daughter Jenna on the “Today” show, President Bush recalled a tale about his late dog Barney and President Vladimir Putin.

“As you know, our dear dog Barney, who had a special place in my heart — Putin dissed him and said, ‘You call it a dog?’ A year later, your mom and I go to visit and Vladimir says, ‘Would you like to meet my dog?’ Out bounds this huge hound, obviously much bigger than a Scottish terrier, and Putin looks at me and says, ‘Bigger, stronger and faster than Barney.’”

To timeline this enchanting story properly, I would like to recall a certain experience I personally had with Rifaat al-Assad, uncle to the present Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and aptly named the butcher of Hama for killing tens of thousands of Syrians in a two-week period in February of 1982. The story took place sometimes in the spring of 2005 in the south of Spain during a time the Syrian opposition was energetically manifesting itself against the Assad regime.

Rifaat invited a group of Syrian oppositionist leaders, to include me, to meet with him. After we agreed, we traveled to Majorca, Spain and Rifaat set the time to meet the same day at 11pm. The meeting started with him talking incomprehensibly and ended at 6 am in the morning still talking gibberish. Seven straight hours that no one understood what he was saying or implying.

Of course, the idea behind the meeting was “Can you outlast me, you morons?”

The next day, Rifaat invited all of us again. I refused and left Spain, but those who stayed behind and attended told me later it was the exact duplicate “last longer” routine.

For ruthless and primitive men, outlasting an opponent has some masculinity dimensions that are no different from owning a bigger dog. It is really about bigger (Putin’s dog) and about lasting longer (Rifaat tirades). In the West, society measures manhood through responsible behavior and success in one’s profession, but in the primordial world of Putin and Assad, the measurements take you down a different path.

This is why you almost never see Putin, Rifaat al-Assad, or like-type ruthless leaders with their wives in public. The imagery would certainly catapult our imagination into some unstoppable chuckles.

Our former President Bush should take Putin’s remarks for the kind of man he is, just an ancient primitive with a bushman’s concepts of what makes him superior. This is how, many in the Syrian opposition think of the Assad clan.

Speaking of primitive, it brings me to the discovery of the ancestral ape in Spain believed to be the point at which humanity bifurcated from monkeys some 13 million years ago. Look at the ape’s conceptual image, the extended space between the two eyes, and their deep crater setting. Do you see any semblance to a world leader?

I wonder if the CIA has any DNA samples of Putin and others like him to test the theory that men who think “bigger” or “lasts longer” are automatic threats to US national security interests.

The whole thing is just tribally funny, don’t you think?