Meant every word, in my letter to the President

An open letter to Bashar al-Assad

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing from a faraway nation called Canada, in which war is not really an issue. In practical terms, and most of us do not find urban warfare to be an influencing factor in our lives. I am also writing from the age of 24, and with the knowledge about the topic soon to be at hand provided by a collection of classes at an institution with a license, and assorted readings. I’m writing to you about that thing that’s been on your mind for the last two years: how you’re dealing with the war in the country you’re running.

It is now reported that upwards of 100,000 of your countrymen have died as a consequence of the war in Syria. Regardless of the number, it’s of an order of magnitude which is striking for this day and age. Your country is in a full-scale war with itself. At this point, you can certainly understand the logic of why people are, to put it mildly, not impressed with your results as a leader. A whole lot of people in your own country feel the same way, for that matter. And you can recognize that in almost every respect, you’re doing a poor job in managing the country.

The civil war you’ve been fighting for two years has decimated your country, and having repercussions beyond your border. In other words, the conflict between you and many groups of people is causing new conflicts, and damaging the lives of people not of your nation. And other strong countries might at some point bring yet more damage to the country.

In spite of this, it seems as though, at this point, you are still well in the game. Your forces are winning, and you are wearing the whole country down. Your army is, well, an army, and you can use it to launch large operations with virtual impunity. And you’ve got Putin mean-mugging the rest of the world from behind you, so people are thinking twice about beginning to think about doing something to you.

Everyone is suffering, and war is almost everywhere. Everyone can see how no one can stop you. In other words, you, personally, have made your point. You are a tough guy, and not to be fucked with. You will not give up, and will not be displaced without bringing everything down with you. You command an entire nation, and control it. Everyone can see that. So how about now that you, as a man, have lived situations very few men will ever live, quit while you’re ahead. While you are standing on top of the world, as the guy who everybody knows is a powerful man.

Make everybody see that in the end, you’re a swell guy. Put a little thought into it, of course. You might, as a leader, have some idea as to what would be good for a majority of your people. You come up with a plan that sounds good for everyone, and implement it. Move your people around, let the ones you don’t think are good go. Design and implement a new government, as you see fit, but with you out of it. By all means, invent a dope ceremonial title for yourself, while you’re at the top of your game. Live a perfect and comfortable life after that, with nobody coming in to bother you about things.

And then, you can organize something nice, something that would at least halt the deaths of hundreds of people every day. Now, you could set up an election, and allow people to form parties and march in the streets when they feel like it, but that method is really only effective in countries where most people don’t really care about politics that much. Elections can take a little work, too, and have been known to be disregarded in places.. Maybe appoint a government instead, choose a structure, name people, give them titles, make friendly speeches. And since you’re already doing it, and going to be taking it easy afterwards, make sure to put some effort into it. Create something that you think will be nice for a lot of people. Like for example, bring your army back into its bases and let those guys take it easy. Let people go back and live in the places where they were living before all this. It would be implied that they would have to be in fact living there, as in, going to work and generally just doing their thing, rather than going around causing trouble. Most people, I think, would go back to living peaceful lives if they were allowed to do so. Some would not, because war is their business, but most would. The men of war would continue doing their thing, but everyone would know now that it’s them, not you. You’re not doing anything but laying low and not killing anybody. if you did this, you’d see who the other fanatics were for real, and then all the stress that’s on you would then be on them.

And with you taking it easy all the while.Sit in a room and watch a few movies, with nothing else on your mind. Take the family biking. You could write a book, about how you were such a great leader, who proved his strength. Maybe learn an instrument. Publishers would offer you deals, MTV might even offer you a reality show about dictating. Stress free, knowing that your reputation is sealed forever. With an act of magnanimity that is pretty much unknown through history: the man who knew when to stop.

Another appreciated concession would be food: you could bring food to the people in your country that are hungry, and they might appreciate it. They’d almost definitely eat it. I think it’s safe to say that food goes a long way in making people happy, and also keeping them alive. So with food and not being murdered for the majority of people, everyone would be able to catch their breath a little, including you.

In terms of execution, since you’re large and in charge, all you’d have to do is order it. However, there might be other obstacles to doing it. Like maybe some family legacy-type preoccupations, and wanting to reconcile all kinds of issues. Being of Lebanese descent, I can imagine that your family might be weighing loudly on your decisions. There might even be some parental issues with you, on a personal level. That’s your business, though you should know that on that level your business looks a lot like everyone else’s business.

In other words, if you’re doing this because your father never came to your soccer games, or because your brothers used to call you Bitch-Ar when you were kids, then you need to be honest about it to yourself, then maybe do some growing up. At your age, and with what everyone’s seen that you’ve accomplished, you should be the one calling the shots. And you are, so why not just take them with you?

Use a little force if you have to, but get everyone out there, where they can take it easy. They’ll get used to it, because you’ll tell them to. Isn’t it what’s best for your family? Peaceful living, with a historic family name? If you did that which we’ve been discussing, some would hail you as magnanimous. I’m relatively certain the leaders of the West would call you all sorts of glorious things at this point, given that they’re being made to look like fools in the media by your actions.. By now, if you were to resign and add two or three ‘democracy’s to your next speech, your smartphone would explode from all the texts from Obama and ‘em inviting you to their parties. Trust me, you’d be the belle of the ball.

You stood up to the entire West and dared them to act militarily, and no one did. Your mark has been printed on Syria and its history. You concluded what your father started. You stood to defend your government until you realized you needed to walk away for the good of humanity. Tell it any way you want it. It’s a classic and well-liked story: the guy whom everyone used to hate turned out to do the right thing. That’s how people will see it, now and for a long time: of sound body and mind, and altruistically, you did the right thing. And before you left, you made legitimately beneficial and just decisions. A comparison could’ve been made with King Solomon, if you hadn’t already cut the baby.

In the end, like all of us, you’re going to die. The only difference is, most of our names won’t be recorded in this fable called history. Yours will, and you have some time to choose in what light.


Chris Chakra

P.S. When I’m feeling blue, I give myself a nice clean shave.