Mordechai Kedar: An Open Letter to President Assad (JEWISH PRESS) 06/14/12)
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The Druze writer, Salman Masalha, a Palestinian citizen of Israel,
addresses President Assad personally and reproves him for the failure
of the hollow pan-Arab slogans of brotherhood and equality that his
party uses in order to justify the oppression of his people and the
murderous brutality of recent decades.
The article was originally published on the Internet site Elaph about
six months ago, was translated to Hebrew by Arie Goos and now appears
on the Internet site Megafon [The comments of Dr. Kedar are in
Dear Mr. President,
It is difficult for me to address you with this title, but because at
least officially, as of now, you carry this title and fulfill this
role, politeness and protocol oblige me to address you in this way.
And so, I will begin:
Dear Mr. President,
Ever since the flames licked the body of Bouazizi in Tunisia [in
December 2010, the start of the "domino effect" of the "Arab Spring"]
and their sparks then flew to various locations of the Arab world,
you haven’t understood – nor have any of those who raised you to
power by means of a constitutional farce explained to you – that the
Arab coals hidden under the Arab dust and sand for so many long
generations of tyranny will set your house aflame as well.
You have declared many times, to the Western media, of course, that
Syria is different from Tunisia, different from Libya and different
from Egypt. Indeed, in the process of aggressive investigative
reporting, the truth did rise to the surface, proving the emptiness
of the whole false Ba’ath ideology which claims “one Arab nation with
an eternal mission.”
Even so, with the kindling of the flames in the Arab states, the
power of this slogan quickly collapsed. Its thunderous fall, as you
expressed it in your own words, exposed to all, the nationalist lie
that the Ba’ath has been spreading for many generations. These
glittering slogans have aroused us for such a long time, and
unfortunately still excite the feelings even of those who have
outgrown Arab nationalism.
The false ideology behind the Ba’ath slogans, in Iraq as well as in
Syria – where it still rules officially – hides the darkness of the
prisons into which all of the seekers of freedom among the Arab
citizens – the cultural as well as the political – are thrown.
Indeed, this Ba’ath party was never anything but a racist Arab
ideology, and because of this it became, essentially, a tribal
ideology. Yes, this was the situation in the land of Aram Naharaim,
Iraq of Saddam Hussein, and this is the current situation in Syria.
When you became president, there were those who hoped, naively, that
because you studied in the West and you became acquainted with
Western culture, and because you know how to use the Internet,
Facebook and other modern media, perhaps some wisps of the aroma of
freedom and openness of the Western world would have clung to you.
Oh! What naivety! Indeed, they were all naive because they didn’t
know that you yourself were never free. All the years that passed in
the West were carried away in the wind. What is depressing is the
speed with which the glittering slogans disappeared with the first
wind of freedom. There is another son, recently captured, who was
said to have received Western education, and that he was open, in
contrast to his father. However, the moment that the intifada broke
out in Libya, we saw how Saif al-Islam Qadhafi returned to his
nature, which overcame everything that he had acquired in the West.
Overnight, those who were involved in the intifada became rats.
And the same goes for you too, Mr. President. Yes, you were not a
free man, not even for one day. Why, you are the son of your father.
And therefore, if you had really been free you would have refused to
allow your father to pass down the rule to you by a constitutional
farce. If you had been really free you would have insisted on
continuing your work as an ophthalmologist. You would have continued
to support people to see the light with your assistance. But you were
not that sort. Your studies in the cultured West did not avail you,
and none of its culture of freedom clung to you.
You returned to the natural tribal Arab nature that overcomes
anything else that may have been acquired. That is how the
saying, “Syria is not Tunisia and isn’t Egypt…” became a banner of
return to his tribal Arab roots. These roots are the source of the
sorrows of the Arabs. These principles are what push these human
societies to the abyss whenever some members of this nation attempt
to break free from it.
Yes, Mr. President. This primitive tribal fanaticism is what presents
the greatest pitfall to a modern state. This fanaticism is what
prevents the emergence of a people, in the full sense of the term.
Mr. President, it is so painful to tell you: this is the truth about
you. Actually, this is the truth about all of us. And now, after all
of these crimes carried out by the regime that you head, life in
Syria will never return to the way it was in the past. It cannot be
that the storms of emotion will be calmed as if nothing ever
happened. Mr. President, the time has come for you to understand the
bitter truth, and so you must pack your suitcases. You must let the
The throats that your brutal “Shabikha” have slit, scream from under
the earth: Yalla, Get out of here, O Bashar!
And if slogans have any power, our way may prove successful.
This concludes the article of Salman Masalha. Since these words were
written, the situation in Syria has deteriorated, and the worse the
situation of the regime, the more murderous it has become, and the
more cruel it becomes, the more determined are the rebels.
Mutual deeds of slaughter in recent months have taken the lives of
dozens and more every day among children, women and men whose only
sin was that they belong to the wrong ethnic group: Muslims slaughter
Alawites, and they – in revenge – slaughter Muslims. Scenes of horror
appear in all the media, and even the nations of the world have begun
to feel uncomfortable with these spectacles.
The pressure on Russia is increasing, and its leaders are beginning
to talk about the “Syrian people” and their suffering, not because
they have become supporters of the revolution or human rights, but
rather because they fear the loss of all of their assets in Syria –
ports on the Mediterranean Sea and many investments – if the
rebellion ultimately succeeds. They are concerned that the next
Syrian regime will throw them out in revenge for their support of
Assad. But talk is one thing and deeds are another: The Russians have
begun to transfer attack helicopters to the Syrian regime, those that
can shoot rockets on the citizens, despite the fact that these
rockets are intended mainly to destroy tanks. They still try to
breathe life into the Syrian regime, despite - and perhaps because –
of the fact that the battles have now reached the suburbs of Damascus.
The latest development is that an air defense battalion has crossed
over to the rebels’ side, and in response, the battalion was bombed
from the air, and it’s not clear how much the air defense battalion
can actually contribute to the rebellion. Nevertheless, this does
signify a widening of the cracks in the walls of the military,
because the plague of desertion is spreading, and senior officers are
crossing over to the side of the rebels. The “Free Syrian Army”
received anti-tank ammunition from Turkey and Libya via Lebanon, and
the funding for it comes from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The leaders of the rebellion call to the Syrians living outside
Syria, Arabs, and people of conscience to demonstrate in front of the
Russian embassy, to stop it from supporting the regime. The United
States protests to Russia about the supply of helicopters, but finds
it difficult to contribute more than harsh words to the effort of the
Syrian people to get rid of the butcher that rules them.
In this situation, where the world stands and passively watches how a
mass murderer, son of a mass murderer, slaughters his people, Israel
must come to three necessary conclusions:
A. If, God forbid, there is a situation where our neighbors will ever
overcome us, there is no reason to assume that our enemies will
relate to us any better than the way in which they relate to one
another. If they only could, they would slaughter us and humiliate
our women and our daughters at least in the same way in which they do
to the men, women and Syrian daughters. The behavior of the tribes in
Libya and in Yemen to each other, just as the way that the Egyptian
military treats the demonstrators, shows us how they would behave
toward us if they only could. Can anyone prove otherwise?
B. The world has been standing for a year and a half, watching
impotently as the butcher of Damascus slaughters his citizens. There
is no reason to believe that the world would behave any differently
if we were in a similar situation to the Syrian people. This is
nothing new: After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, it
took the world half a year to shoot the first shot against Saddam’s
military, and during this period the Iraqi soldiers killed hundreds
of Kuwaitis, humiliated beyond words all the daughters of the state,
looted all the banks and emptied all the possessions of the houses of
the Kuwaitis. We, just like the Syrians, cannot depend on the
conscience of the world (if there is such a thing) in any matter that
relates to our national and personal security.
C. The borders of Israel must be determined according to the worst
case scenario: the possibility of an Iranian invasion into Jordan via
Iraq obligates us to remain forever in the Jordan Valley, and the
possibility that a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria will become
a Hamas state like Gaza obligates us to remain forever in the rural
areas between the cities of Judea and Samaria. Peace agreements like
those that we have with Egypt and Jordan are not a guarantee of
security, especially while there are regime changes such as those
that we see these days in Egypt.
Originally published at
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