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Mordechai Kedar: An Open Letter to President Assad

Bashar Assad

Photo Credit: Matanya Tausig/Flash90

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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 parentheses].

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.

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About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.


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