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President Obama, Please Don’t Do It
Amer Zahr
by Amer Zahr
September 8th, 2013 (7 Comments)
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Dear President Obama,

My views about the current situation in Syria are borne out of my experience and existence as an Arab-American.  I am not just an Arab, nor just an American.  I am both, at the same time, all the time.  The lands of my heritage reside at the headlines of American news almost daily.  If you think that could lead to some complicated stuff, you’re right.

The civil war in Syria is raging.  As Arabs, we are emotionally invested, whether we like it or not.  Whether it is Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain, Palestine, and now Syria, we have been on a bit of a roller coaster the past few years.

Well, I am ready for the ride to end.  So President Obama, I beg you, please don’t bomb Syria.

We are told that the Syrian regime is brutal, unwilling to engage with any opposition, choosing to violently crush the rebellion, killing tens of thousands of its own citizens, even using chemical weaponry.

Bashar al-Assad is a dictator, no matter how “promising” he may have seemed years ago.  We know that.

But President Obama, please don’t bomb Syria.

Human rights are under attack in Syria.  The refugee crisis is out of control.  We are told that 2 million Syrians have been driven out of their homes.  Over 100,000 have been killed inside Syria.  The numbers are horrifying.

But still, President Obama, please don’t bomb Syria.

You say that if you don’t bomb, American credibility will suffer.  I remember your “red line” quote a year ago, and I remember worrying when I heard it.  But it’s OK.  We all exaggerate.  I remember my mom telling me, “Make fun of me one more time, and I will kill you.”  Well, I made fun of her again.  But I’m still here.

And by the way, is that the kind of “credibility” we’re looking to uphold?  Is that we are trying to say to the world?  “If we say we are going to bomb you, you better believe we are going to bomb you.”  Well, I have a solution to save our credibility.  Let’s stop saying we’re going to bomb people.

And I seem to remember some other promises you made regarding the Arab World.  Your Cairo speech in 2009 was entitled “A New Beginning.”  You said Palestinian statehood was just as legitimate as Israel’s.  You said Iraq “reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.”  You spoke of democracy, human rights, and economic cooperation.  They gave you the Nobel Peace Prize for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”  You were a superstar everywhere, from Chicago to Baghdad.  No American president had been in that position since… actually, no American president had ever been in that position.

Well, to put it lightly, you’re not as popular with Arabs as you used to be.  You said the Tunisian people were brave as they rose up against their dictator.  But when Egyptians did the same thing against your friend in Cairo, you stayed quiet.  You didn’t say much when citizens in Yemen, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain protested against their authoritarian regimes.  But you helped the Libyan people kill their dictator in the streets.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this.  If you think you can still save American “credibility,” you’re too late.

So, seriously, don’t bomb Syria.

If you do, you will definitely give a shot in the arm to the Syrian opposition, whoever they might be.  But they are indistinct, with no real central leadership.  They are also engaging in unspeakable violence, executing Syrian soldiers in violation of international law.  Further, they are polluted with right-wing extremist Islamists, exactly the type of people America has been fighting against since 9/11.

There is an old Arabic proverb that says, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  If you bomb Syria, al-Qaeda will claim victory.  Do you need more of a reason not to do it?

And there are more signs that this is a bad idea.  Republicans in Congress are mostly against your proposed action.  Republicans against war?  I know, it seems un-American.  It also seems like a really bad episode of “The Twilight Zone.”  Well, nothing good ever happened on that show.

So, don’t bomb Syria.

Finally, if you bomb Syria, my life will just get more hectic.  I don’t want to keep demonstrating and writing against American policies.  I’m trying to move forward with my life.  I’d like to find a girl, settle down, and have a couple kids. You’re really hindering that process.  You’re bomb-blocking me.

And if I do have kids one day, I want them to love America like I do, and not just because of free refills and dollar menus, but for real reasons.  Because I’m sick of explaining how I love the country I live in, even though it keeps bombing the countries I come from.

Yours Truly,
An Arab-American

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Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of “The Civil Arab.”

Comments (7)
  1. Jim Butler-Daulby (@Psychjim) ... September 8th, 2013 - 15:58

    Although you state dual citizenship, the two are engaged in both a cultural war, which has been going on for several generations now – see Israel and the bomb!- and an oil war. America has been selling its oil cheaply in its own country and hoisting up prices everywhere else in the world (just as it does with technology), and it’s running out. Arabs have the lion’s share of the valuable commodity. Your culture has been one of “strong” leadership and religio-politics for over a thousand years and is waking up to the possibility of ‘democracy’ as a new way forward. But that demands change, which is something most of us find difficult. But what an opportunity for the American profiteering, greedy corporate war-mongers to tell us in the West, (who know precious little of what your culture is all about,) how you’re being “denied” political freedoms at the cost of military crack-downs and near genocide to maintain “civil order”. As you so rightly say, the “rebels” are as inhuman as the government in their actions. And who can really tell who used the gas? I whole-heartedly agree that to bomb Syria is the wrong thing to do! In fact ANY Western interference in the Arab troubles should be outlawed under international law! You have a grand council of Arab nations to sort your issues out. People who understand your histories, culture, religion and politics. As for Western ‘democracy’, it’s not an order that has a great history! If you have wealth, or at the very least, a wealthy benefactor, you can become a leader! If you’re poor, then life sucks! ‘Democracy’, in the West, has sold out to the few. It’s not worth the paper it’s written on! Most of us in the West DO NOT want America to bomb Syria. But hey…. who really cares what we want?

  2. Imad Attallah ... September 8th, 2013 - 19:23

    Hhhhhhh, I don’t know which one is harderr do to do , convening Obama of not bombing Syria, or u trying to find a good girl to marry. Good luck with both.ur so damn Funny.

  3. What Obama is planning to do in Syria can only be described legally, and according to American law, as premeditated murder!

    For definition of the above please see:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premeditated_murder

    • If Obama attacks Syria, Congress will begin with the impeachment process. I hope they will also impeach Herman Munster, Obama’s Sec. of State.

  4. Another politician who played the role of magician when he got elected. Incredible that the Nobel Peace Price is getting involved in his third war, even if he didn’t start the first two. Way to go Barack, you are not different from any other President, just another politician who didn’t give a damn about the people who elected you. BTW, we all knew that your Cairo speech was loaded with soup (meaning BS)

  5. well done sir I slute u for ur true word
    these ppl only look they Owen interest
    the real terrierst ryanks and britesh
    they cuz all the war
    once again thankyou

  6. You should have addressed your letter to AIPEC. And while you’re at it, throw that babbling idiot Kerry a bone so he can shut the fu** up.


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