Opinion

Syrian Dictator Seeking Work… on Craigslist?

A screenshot from Joseph Delappe's posting in Craigslist Reno.

LOS ANGELES — If you log into the jobs board in Craigslist Reno, you might come across a strange posting: “Dictator Seeks New Job!” Log into Craigslist Istanbul and you’ll notice another one: “President of Syria Seeks Employment!

Bashar al-Assad, apparently, is looking for work.  Here are some of his qualifications:

“I will consider all offers of temporary and/or long-term employment. I am especially interested in working abroad. I am expert in all aspects of despotic rule, including torture, general corruption and fixed elections.”

It’s a niche market, to be sure.

The project is the latest by new media artist Joseph Delappe, who last year placed Hosni Mubarak up on eBay.  When asked why he chose Craigslist and not, say, Monster.com, he responded:

“I am drawn to Craigslist as it is simple and straight forward. My hope is that others may take up the call and post locally. I like that Craigslist allows me to post my ad in say, Beirut as easily as one may post in my home location, Reno.”

With his Dictator Series, situated in unexpected internet media, Delappe sees his work as “a wry form of protest,” and he’s put out an open call on Rhizome for others to join in.

It looks like Craigslist readers are getting it. One of Delappe’s first responses:

Hi Mr Asad,
I am all about second chances you cruel dictator.
I have an interesting sales opportunity with new and unique wellness products. Will you be interested to hear more
?
Sorry no killing in this position..

“I have no illusions that what I am doing may in any way affect the outcome in Syria,” he noted. “I do this as a way of showing my support as an artist for people on the other side of the world who are fighting for their freedom.”

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