Mohammed Alyahya | An open letter to Bashar al-Assad

Guest Column | A Penn student explores retirement options for the Syrian dictator

· July 18, 2012, 9:39 pm

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Dr. al-Assad,

I’ve been searching for precedent to aid me in assessing your situation. My findings show that similar political hiccups occurred in other countries around you, namely Egypt and Libya. Unfortunately, your counterparts in these countries are in no shape to warn you themselves. Based on these findings, I regret to tell you that your continued presence in Syria will likely lead to your imprisonment or demise.

I’ve been doing some research on potential retirement destinations for unsung despots. After an extensive process of elimination, I’ve isolated two that would not abhor your presence: North Korea and Mars. For logistical reasons, I highly recommend you sacrifice human habitability and opt for North Korea. In light of recent political change in North Korea, it seems that the Democratic People’s Republic is in need of a tyrant that knows what he’s doing. I say this is because Syria will no longer provide the return on investment you grew accustomed to. Mrs. al-Assad, I expect, would endorse my prescription. In light of her banking background, she must know the importance of cashing out of an unsuccessful venture.

Speaking of careers, I looked into potential employment opportunities for you as well. My findings show that Pyongyang has a shockingly low number of eye-care clinics: zero. The fact that you are an ophthalmologist completely blind to his own environment is less of an impediment in such a setting.

Despite your relative effectiveness in annihilating innocent protesters and their children in the short term, you have no weapon in your arsenal that will destroy the struggle for basic human dignity and rights. Possibly to your bewilderment, not everything can be blown up — especially not ideas.

You have made orphans, widows and widowers and incurred their undying wrath. Wrath is a problematic enemy, Dr. al-Assad. Granted, the murdered pose no threat to your safety, but the 17,000 you killed have awfully vengeful living loved ones. Love, compassion and morality will keep their struggle alive. Aside from the relevance of these three concepts to your quandary, it would be worthwhile to familiarize yourself with their general use and prevalence.

I don’t mean to tell you what you already know, but remember that the international community, almost in its entirety, is not very happy with you. It will be difficult for moral or image-conscious governments to interact with you in the impossible event that you manage to kill the movement for dignity and human rights in your country.

Although I and many others would not mind seeing you on trial for crimes against humanity, I think it would be in all of our interests that you leave Syria as soon as physically possible.

Worst regards,
Mohammed Alyahya

Mohammed Alyahya is a College senior from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Follow him on Twitter @MohammedAlyahya.

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