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An Open Letter to Barack Obama From A Syrian Citizen

Editor’s note: We recently received this correspondence from a Syrian citizen in response to our recent article about Syria.  The letter included along with it, a correspondence with Barack Obama, which we have reproduced at the request of the sender.


To the Editor,

As a Syrian, I was very pleased to read your article about the situation in Syria. It is somewhat encouraging for us to know that, there are people of reasonable opinions in the West, who are lovers of peace, and who cherish life.

First, I would like to take the opportunity in this letter to express my heartfelt thanks for your article. I would like to enclose along with my letter, a direct address to Barack Obama of the United States.  I humbly request that, should it please the editorial board, that this letter is also made public on the site.  I intend to deliver a copy of the said letter to the American Embassy in Damascus, along with a separate copy which I hope will be published in a respectable American newspaper or periodical.

No doubt this will be one of the few letters from someone who is a supporter of Assad allowed in a Western publication. I myself have written to many Western journalists with the hope of voicing another side of the story, but have been rejected at every turn because what I have to say does not fit in with the accepted narrative.

The Western powers were not content to stop engaging in what they call “policing the world”. For 50 years now, they have exported revolution and killed countless millions while claiming to serve democracy.

Today, the United States claims to be the staunchest defender of democracy, while assassinating popularly elected leaders and replacing them with blood-soaked tyrants. They claim to fight terrorism while more-or-less openly funding terrorist groups when politically expedient, only to turn around and use the presence of such groups as pretense to attack other nations. They continue their wars, even as more than 10% of the people in America are unemployed and many unable to afford the basic necessities of life.

For many years Syria enjoyed peace and stability in the heart of the unstable Middle East. We were a safe haven for our neighbors. We owe this in part, to President Assad, who has created a prosperous and peaceful environment. A US war, like the one Obama is planning, would be devastating to this peace.

The US complains that our government is backed by Iran. While some links do exist, this is over-simplistic. Much of this has to do with the fact that both Syria and Iran had a mutual rival in Iraq, which was propped up for many years (until it became inconvenient) by the US itself. If America’s murderous overtures in Syria are because of the relationship that Syria has to Iran, then America is only showing their hypocrisy. Shouldn’t every nation be allowed to pursue relations that are in its best interest?

A Syrian protester shows support for Syrian President Bashar Assad (Source: AP)

A Syrian protester shows support for Syrian President Bashar Assad (Source: AP)

Many people will object and say that Assad is a dictator. Assad is, in reality, far from being a dictator. He has not only protected Christians, such as myself and my family, but allowed them to take up posts in the government and military. Assad allows freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion. Assad is an elected President chosen twice by the parliament and by popular referendum. He also has the support of most of the Syrian people. Perhaps the massive pro-Assad demonstrations were censored from the news networks in America, but I can assure you that far from wanting President Assad gone, many people will enthusiastically support him should war come to our country.

Our government may not be perfect, but it is still the democratically elected government of the Syrian people. We Syrians today reject the destructive interventionist attempts by the US and its allies, and we firmly believe that the future of the Syrian nation must be decided by the Syrians, and them alone, and not by the politicians sitting in a War Room in countries far away.

Let me be clear in saying that we harbor no ill will towards Americans, or even the American military. We realize that many Americans have fought against their will, with no other choice but to follow the orders. We, as people who love peace, sympathize with all the Americans who will be made to suffer because of this war.

Once again, thank you for telling our side of the story.


Gabriel Hattab
Damascus, Syria


Dear Barack Obama,

Over the past few months we have watched as your administration and its allies have funded terrorists – the very same terrorists you claim you are fighting – in Syria. We have heard your increasingly aggressive threats towards Syria, and your fanatical demands to attempt to oust a democratically elected government because you disapprove of our internal policies. We Syrians have watched as your media continues to fabricate lies and deceive the American people to trick them into supporting another war.

Because of these, we Syrians feel compelled to ask: Why does your government uncontrolled obsession with the meddling in the internal affairs of not only Syria, but nearly every other nation on the surface of this Earth? Do you believe that is it fair for you to use force against nations with whom you disagree? Do you feel that it is righteous to continue your military interventions, which will kill thousands of civilians and displace millions, just for the sake of punishing a leader you don’t like? And – perhaps the biggest question of them all, is such meddling not the antithesis of the democracy in whose name you are invading other nations?

Mr. Obama, someone in your position must certainly realize that America has attempted to interfere with other nations in the past, and nearly each time it has resulted in failure and untold sadness. We are well aware of the death and destruction in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. We are also quite aware that you intend to continue your adventures in Iran at some time in the near future. I implore you, not as a Syrian, but as a member of the world community to consider what you are doing.

Mr. Obama, perhaps it may come as a surprise to you that power is not exercised arbitrarily in our country. Your administration however, has kidnapped people from across the globe, and held them without trial in the worst conditions. This has even been done to your own citizens, whose human rights you are charged with protecting. The United States is certainly in no position to be lecturing the world on Human Rights. Before you attempt to condemn Syria, I urge you to heed the words of Christ, who said first take the plank out of your own eye before removing the speck out of your brother’s eye!

Mr. Obama, we as Syrians, cannot understand your rationale for supporting the Free “Syrian” Army. We have trouble understanding how the U.S., given everything that has happened in the last 10 years, can still be so arrogant and setting themselves up as policeman of the world, this time seeking to attack Syria in the name of “freedom” and “human rights” .

Whatever your intent, we are also certain that you do not truly wish to bring democracy to Syria. Were that the case you would have respected the wishes of the people, the majority of whom support the current government. If war breaks out in Syria, I am sure you know the outcome, but in case you have not, let me be so bold as to predict that millions will die in the ensuing conflict, and the atmosphere of peace and prosperity that has been created by our current government will all but vanish.

Some Americans raised the objection that Syria must be attacked because of our close relations with Iran. In this case, America has also been hypocritical. What of the American support for Saddam Hussein? When the Iraqi government used chemical weapons against the Kurds, and during the Iran-Iraq war, America not only did nothing, they encouraged the action, because at the time they were allies. Certainly you must know that while the use of chemical weapons is immoral and reprehensible, it would be a grand hypocrisy for America to use this as a pretext for going to war.

Mr. Obama, you are a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Though many people were skeptical on whether or not you deserved the Prize so early in your presidency, many others were willing to give you a chance to prove yourself. Certainly, you can realize from studying the past that arming “rebels” is no intelligent strategy. Furthermore, bombing and attacking other countries at will is not something the world community expects of a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

In closing, Mr. Obama, let me say this: I hope that you will be mindful of the tenets of human rights that you claim to support. Many of your own countrymen have already objected to the war, and so have many people around the world. As rational people, we want peace and not war. All around the world, people are counting on you to do the right thing.

The only question is, Mr. Obama, will you disappoint them?


Gabriel Hattab
Damascus, Syria

About William van Nostrand

William van Nostrand is a native of Chicago, Illinois and is currently the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of He holds a B.A. in Economics as well as a minor in cultural anthropology. His interests are highly varied and include late medieval European architecture, German romantic classical music, and travel.