An open letter to the Syrian Ambassador in Washington DC

An open letter to the Syrian Ambassador in Washington DC
Syrian Memorial Day, Friday May 6, 2011

Mr. Imad Moustapha, PH. D. Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Syria in Washington DC. Salam.

Regarding the painful events which Syria is going through these days, and the blood that is being shed from its unarmed civilians of all ages, please let me remind you of the following. More important than the fact that you represent the Syrian government is that you represent the Syrian Civilization and History. You represent Syria which had existed long before any government did, which still exists today and will keep existing after the departure of all different governments. You also represent your conscience and the family name you hold as well.
By remembering that, I wish you to fulfill your national, moral and ethical duty by sending an immediate letter to the President asking him to personally intervene to stop the blood bath, protect the unarmed civilians, grant them their rights in peaceful demonstration, and give them the reforms they demand and also freedom and dignity.
Mr. Ambassador; I lived through the days of the October war. I was and I am still proud of it, like all the Syrians and Arabs. I even showed that in more that one of my poems. And as a Syrian who has been living abroad for more that a quarter of a century, I was and I am still proud of Syrian role in supporting the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance that helped in liberating South Lebanon and the Gaza strip. I documented that in more than one of my poems as well. Then came my epic poem ‘Syria Talks about Herself’, to which I invited you and the Embassy staff to attend the recital in Houston last year. The poem in which I glorified Syria from north to south and from east to west, its cities and villages, mountains and valleys, civilization and traditions, history and heroes. Syria did not build its glory on all that only, but also on the freedom and dignity of its sons. Since without freedom and dignity, no country and no people have anything left that deserves to be talked about
From my position as a writer and poet abroad, and from my vision as an independent person who does not belong to any political, religious, or even social club, I find it difficult to understand what is going on in our countries. As, when the homeland turns into a private company where the elite become millionaires while the majority of the people are swinging around the poverty line, then that is what all dictionaries, languages and customs call corruption. And when the people demonstrate and protest that, and also demand freedom and dignity at the same time, but are faced by live bullets, stepped on by feet and confronted by tanks, then that is what the same sources call suppression.
And that leads me to a question for which I may need your help to answer.
Can any government fight the enemy, support the resistance, stop the foreign conspiracies without seeing the corruption flourishing under its eyes, and without suppressing its citizens? If that is impossible, then no government should be surprised in case it wakes up one morning to find itself in a confrontation square where it is on one side and the people are on the other.
Excuse me as I did not pay enough attention to the protocols and to the language that the diplomatic letters should use. The scary photos which are arriving from the homeland, together with the countless amount of blood which we see flowing there, all that distracted me from doing so. I do not have a doubt you agree with me that what is going on in our homeland and some other Arabic countries may spread to other parts of the world, and that it is an event that is considered, in all standards, a turning point in the history of humanity. Our generation is quite lucky to witness this event which is not less important than The Slave Rebellion of Rome, and The French, Russian and Iranian Revolutions whose lessons and conclusions are still alive today. But there are always a few people, especially the enlightened ones, who do not believe that it is enough for them to witness that event. But also have enough courage to chisel their names on the list of its makers, so they become a guiding light and a good example for the others. And here I am, with all humbleness, adding my name openly to the list of the people who are demanding to stop the blood bath that is taking place in our homeland, and asking you to openly add yours, together with all who believe that Syria has enough space for all the Syrians, especially those who got tired waiting for the reforms and the fulfilling of the promises, but also want to live in freedom and dignity before anything else. Let us not forget that the free and dignified citizen, and who does not suffer from corruption around him, is a citizen who will be more proud and therefore more capable of fighting the enemy, supporting the resistance, and defeating the foreign conspiracies.

Do you agree with me?


Tarif Youssef-Agha
Writer & Poet abroad
Houston, Texas
Friday May 6th. 2011

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