Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Doctor Jekyll and Mister Assad

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7616 (Published 12 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7616
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

Everyone knows the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and understands the moral: that there is, lurking within even the best and most benevolent of us, a ravening beast, an evil monster, that requires very little encouragement to emerge. Whether or not this is literally the case, it is a powerful metaphor for the sudden change in character, usually for the worse, that whole populations, and all the more so, individuals, can undergo.

That is why, perhaps, a book about one of our colleagues, one Dr Bashar Al Assad, written by a French journalist called Jean-Marie Quéméner, is titled Doctor Bashar, Mister Assad. How is …

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