Dear President Obama,
I know you receive a lot of letters and you cannot read every single one, but I hope someone on your staff can relay this message to you.
I wrote to you last week about the horrific situation in Syria. I am an American of Syrian decent.
Since my last letter, the situation has only worsened, if that is even possible. More unarmed protesters have been killed, more Syrians have been beaten, and even more citizens have been arrested. Furthermore, the people of Daraa were allowed to leave their houses for two hours, only to discover three mass graves; security forces quickly swooped in to collect the bodies. God only knows how many more mass graves there are.
People all over Syria in Daraa, Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Damascus, Qamishli, Banias, Tal Kalakh, and in other areas, have risen up to demand their rights, much like African American rose up during the civil rights movement here in America. They have remained peaceful and have faced bullets with bare chests insisting on an end to this murderous regime.
Contrary to the ridiculous assertions of the Assad regime, there are no armed groups, no extreme Salafists, no conspiracies; only a grass roots movement that has had enough dictatorship. For the past forty years, Syria has been run like a mafia, with an Assad as the mob boss. Anyone who dares to think freely conveniently disappears, just like my uncle did thirty years ago.
Mr. President, this movement is not going away. The people of the Middle East, and specifically Syria, have tasted freedom and they will never go back. Some only experienced freedom for a few minutes or hours before they were detained or killed. Freedom is when you can stand up to your oppressor and tell him “I am not afraid of you, do as you please”. Freedom is when you are willing to die to make the world a better place for your children and grandchildren. Freedom is when you say “kill me, tear me apart, but you no longer rule me.” This is what the people of Syria have done; they are no longer afraid of Assad and his murderous apparatus.
Assad is done; we must not fantasize about “Assad, the reformer” any longer. I have read accounts from the people on the ground in Syria, and there is no way they are going back to dictatorship. They are all willing to die, than to be treated like animals, or worse. It is only a matter of time now before Assad either escapes or is captured. It is time the United States gets on the right side of history.
Please Mr. President, for the sake of all the fallen heroes, and all the grieving mothers and fathers, tell Assad “it’s time to GO!”
You are going to give a speech tomorrow about the Middle East; here are some practical steps we can take:
- Announcing that Assad no longer has the legitimacy to rule Syria (he has never had it because he inherited it).
- Pressure him to go.
- Putting in place sanctions on Assad himself, and pushing the EU and UN to do the same.
- Pressuring the Arab League to condemn Assad and his regime and to boycott him and his apparatus.
- Seek an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for Assad for crimes against humanity.
- Supply the Syrian people with humanitarian aid which is much needed.
Thank you for your time,