The puppet show has only been up on YouTube for two weeks, and yet it’s already received more than 40,000 views, sparked a backlash and been widely praised as it makes a mockery of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian theater group Masasit Mati put out its first episodes of “Top Goon: Diaries of a Little Dictator” as the popular uprising against Assad reaches its ninth month, and thousands of Syrians are said to be in jail or dead for defying him. Masasit Mati is named after the straw that’s used to drink mati, a popular herbal tea Syrians drink over long conversations.
The Global Post, which writes that the series has “stunned” its audiences for “its unprecedented and very personal lampooning,” shares a scene from the series, translated from the Arabic:
Assad security agent, whipping a prisoner’s back: “You want freedom, right? Freedom?… What kind of freedom is it you want?”
Protester: “One where you and I wouldn’t be here. You’d be with your kids and I’d be with my family.”
Security agent: “You bastard! I am here because of you.”
Protester: “You are here because you are not free. …You are imprisoned just like me. I’ll leave prison in a month or two. But you’ll stay here. Because you are afraid to take your freedom.”
Jamil, the director of Masasit Mati who did not want his full name published for fear of retribution, told the Global Post that dialogue came from a real life example.
“It’s so good it’s driving me crazy,” posted one fan wrote on the group’s Facebook wall. Others threatened to sexual violence against the theater member’s female relatives.
“We will not allow the regime to turn us into victims that just cry and stay at home all the time,” Jamil told the Boston-based Global Post.
The United Nations estimates that more than 4,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Assad began in March.
On Monday, Syrians participated in a general strike in several parts of the country in protest of a new round of clashes between troops and army defectors.