Thursday, December 1, 2011

A sad open letter to President Zuma by a Syrian

Dear President Zuma,

My name is Ahmad Qadi, Syrian activist and an intensive care physician, who has been living through this nightmare of brutal oppression of Bashar al-Assad's regime against his own people for more than eight months now.

During these eight months, I have wanted to write a letter to you explaining what we're going through in Syria -- from daily humiliation to mass graves; from torturing to the mass killing of my country's civilians.

I wanted to send you a photograph of every child of the 200 who have been shot dead by Assad's forces thus far, to tell you about their hopes and dreams.

So far, at least 4 500 innocent civilians have died just because they wanted what you wanted before: FREEDOM!

Syria -- through Assad's family ruling -- was deprived of freedom, justice and equality. We always feel like we are second class citizens, mainly because Assad has tried so hard to humiliate us over so many years. We almost forgot what dignity means until March 15 of this year, when a few people chanted in old Damascus: "Freedom, freedom".

Each one of us thought: Justice, freedom, liberty? Why now?

Then the question became: Well, why not now?

But why did I choose you, Mr President? Probably because we share many stories and life events with you. Your father died when you were a young boy, so you were an orphan like thousands of Syrian children whose parents were killed by Assad's regime, especially in the last eight months.

You were detained for no reason except asking for your right to freedom and equality. That's why we currently have tens of thousands of detainees in Assad's torturing centres, many of them were returned dead after their bodies were mutilated -- including children.

Mr President, you were in exile for years and years. Thousands of us have now started the same journey as yours -- no way back to our beloved country as long as Assad is there, otherwise we'll be dead in no time.

Our only sin is that we woke up; we had enough of Assad and his family.

I've never voted in my life or even knew what elections mean. Believe it or not, I've always felt more secure out of my country than inside it!
I've always expected to be detained, not for any wrongdoing but just because you'll never know when Assad's criminals will arrest you for whatever reason and put you behind the sun forever.

Syrians have carried signs bearing quotes from Nelson Mandela: "Your freedom and mine can not be separated" and "There's no such thing as part freedom".

Yet South Africa is still blocking resolution against this brutal regime.

Mr. President,

You should be at the front line helping the oppressed people in Syria, relieving their pain and suffer.

You should be the one who convinces other leaders to stand with the innocent people, not the brutal regimes; to support the orphans and widowed women who have lost their loved ones on the streets while chanting for freedom; to alleviate the worries of disabled men who were tortured, about their future; to help us make the chants for freedom louder and louder; and to achieve our goal in equality and justice.

Am I kidding myself? Who am I to tell a president what to do?

If you don't want to listen to me, please remember the dreams you had in your early years in exile and help us to achieve whatever you wished for at that time

People in Syria say: If not South Africa to stand with us, then who?

Ahmad Qadi

Dr Ahmad Qadi is a Syrian cyber activist and intensive care physician, born and raised in Syria.

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