Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Open Letter To President Bashar Al Assad

Abdullah Omran writes: We appeal to you to lead the movement of change and real reforms, and to put an end to the ongoing bloodshed 

Dear Mr President, 

Forgive us if we have overstepped our limits in conveying our advice, because it only stems from our concern for Syria — a country rich in history, important in its role and geographical position — and from our fear of the potential loss of the legacy of a young reformist leader, who had been a source of optimism in the region at a complex period, especially in the ‘Fertile Crescent'.

Syria borders troubled Iraq, a vicious Israeli occupation of Palestine, Lebanon's clashing sects, the resurgence of new Ottomanism, a stoic and unresponsive Egypt, and an Iranian expansion — politically, socially and strategically.
In the wake of the recent uprisings and calls for reforms from the Arab youth, we thought that the likes of you, Mr President, will take the initiative in carrying out reforms and face up to the inevitable outcome that his current regime had been unceasingly avoiding for many decades under the banner and pretence of resistance and defiance.

We thought that Syria would be able to overcome the events in Daraa and quickly address the lack of freedoms and the supremacy of the security mentality. And to address the lingering questions about the myths of the absolute leader and the one and only ruling party. Lessons can be drawn from the experience of the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussain and his Baath party.
Mr President,

Your friends have always supported you and appealed to you all along to lead the movement of change and real reforms, and to put an end to the ongoing bloodshed. Don't embarrass them by continuing on your current path. You have recognised since the very beginning the events of Daraa. You acknowledged the delay in reforms and called for respecting the dissenting views within the framework of the national interest. However, the actions afterward differed from those calls. All attempts to censor the media failed to conceal the truth. Your regime's analysis that these protests were part of a foreign conspiracy was truly strange although we might agree that some foreign powers will try to exploit the popular protests for their own interests.
Mr President,

We are afraid that Syria's Arab role will diminish, the suffering of the Syrian people will be prolonged, and that the regime will sink in the quandary of violence and the counter-violence.
The security solutions which are excessively violent are extremely risky, especially during the Arab Spring, which is spreading without any limits in place or time. You have succeeded in the past few years, like your late father had before, in mastering the ‘game of nations' that required lots of compromise, horse-trading and negotiating — regionally and internationally. But you are now adopting the same approach in dealing with your own people.

Mr President,
Do you think these national forces are mere ghosts, and therefore there is no need to negotiate or mediate? Where is the rational thinking in dealing with your partners in the homeland? Where are your capabilities in analysing and understanding the reality and the potential changes?

The excessive use of force, which exceeded the acceptable limits of all basic national, ethical and humanitarian norms, is a proven recipe for a great national catastrophe. That, on the other hand, gravely disappointed a large segment of Syria's friends in the Arab world, to the extent that some now believe that there is actually no real control over the security apparatus.
Mr President,

Nobody in the Arab world will be able any more to provide a cover to your regime as it suppresses the people. This regime has effectively lost its perception of power and the damage has been done, and hence you are required to make an urgent and risky concession which is certainly better than losing Syria itself and having its society collapse and plunge it into bloodshed.
Today, Syria has already been exposed; neither Nouri Al Maliki's feeble Iraq is able to stop the flow of arms to your opponents nor is Lebanon, which is sitting on a powder keg, able to fight alongside you. And neither does Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have a magic wand that can help change your regime's way of dealing with your own society which lacks the means of civil governance. Furthermore, Russia is also unable to stand with you under international pressure and the people's demands for reforms.

Mr President,
The time in which a president and his ruling party can rule without the participation of others is over. And so is the time in which the security approach manages the nation's affairs.

Mr President, there is still time; please reconsider.
 -This open letter was published in The Gulf News on 14/06/2011
-Dr Abdullah Omran is the chairman and editor-in-chief of the Sharjah-based Al Khaleej newspaper, where this article originally appeared on Saturday

1 comment:

  1. I hope the President listens to the voice of reason so well put here and ends the bloodshed. The killing is out of hand, the attempt to rule the country as a despot cannot continue. The voice of the people must in the end prevail.