Response to Letter from the International Literature Festival in Berlin to President Bashar al Assad of Syria


Dear Colleagues,

sharing your concerns about the deplorable situation Syria, I  am  yet scandalized by your  ignorant and one sided response to the situation . As scholarly  women and men we should feel obliged  to do  research into the root causes of the situation there. We should want to look into  the geopolitical and economic interests at stake. However by deploring the blockage within the UNSC, you chose to  side with Western class interests, with the profit making machine of a few. This unilateral step of writing an open letter to Pres. Bashar Assad does not cost  you a dime and is anything but courageous. However it proves  that you have neither understood nor are you willing to study the UN-Charta which obliges the member states to abide by  international law and to  solve their conflicting interests peacefully with respect to each member country’s sovereignity. China’s and Russia’s veto in the UNSC blocks a military intervention by not  following the pattern of the recent war against Libya.  We should rather  thank these two countries for not giving in to the  enormous  pressure  put on all and for their attitude of  non-cooperation with an aggressive war policy, instead of accusing them for blocking  another open war of aggression which clearly is on the horizon.  As literate people we should rather criticize those,  who deliver weapons to so called oppositional forces, in real terms   terrorists, fundamentalists, fascists, who  massacre innocent people for not siding with them.

The „Arab Spring“ should by now be understood by literate people as a pure mascarade. A huge field to discover and write about  it intelligently is at our disposal. We should reflect upon it, rather than rally behind an open letter to the respected President of an Arab country who is under attack by Western reaction, who will swallow us, too, if we do  not comprehend and stand up together against it. Konstantin Wecker, one  of signateurs of the  pamphlet below,  who has been fooled into signing it, already has began to rethink his attitude. Please, to the same and follow him! Withdraw your signature, protest against the mis-use of your good name, withdraw the letter altogether.

With friendly regards Irene Eckert


Open letter to Bashar Al-Assad, President of Syria

 Mr President,

The martyrdom of the Syrian people afflicts humanity. Each day, the dead join the dead, the wounded join the wounded and destruction joins destruction. Today, Syria, this beautiful country whose history is a lesson of greatness for humanity, is in the process of disappearing.

Humanity is scared. It wants to help but does not know how, it calls out for help for the Syrian people but nobody comes. The large States are caught up in their calculations; the UN counts the blocked resolutions. To the lamentations of some, it adds its own, to their hesitations it responds with its own.

During this time, in your country the number of victims is growing at a staggering average of 150 deaths per day. Tomorrow, as always, we will know that we were off the mark, as the wounded will die for lack of care and those arrested will disappear. We will find them tomorrow in secret mass graves. There are also the refugees in neighbouring countries, whose number is growing by the hour and we know that many will not return to their country for quite a while. What took place in Algeria, in Iraq, in Libya, in Yemen, in Bahrain, is happening in Syria with a stronger intensity, with an even more terrible ferocity.

All this you know, Mr President, for you receive masses of daily reports on your desk. Reading them may perhaps frighten you, or perhaps are you only smiling.

But don’t cultivate illusions: the help you receive from certain countries, directly such as Russia or China which are blocking the Security Council’s action, or indirectly through silence, cannot legitimate your acts, or reduce their horror. Sooner or later you will have to respond on them in front of the Syrian or international justice.

Mr President, the situation seems hopeless, but there is however a simple way to save the Syrian people: resign. This is the only real solution for everyone, for the Syrian people, for you, for your family, for your friends, for the region and for the world. Everything is in your hands.

Other leaders have done when their countries were in extreme danger. In Algeria, President Chadli and President Zeroual did it. Mubarak also. And even President Abdullah Saleh. Around the world, heads of state managed to withdraw so as to protect their people and their country.

Announce your resignation and call the parties to negotiate a transition towards free elections under the auspices of the UN. Negotiate your departure, with your family, as the cunning Saleh managed to do. If the Russians and the Chinese refuse to welcome you, go to Algeria, Algerians have a long memory, they will for sure remember that Syria gave hospitality to their hero, Emir Abdelkader, when he was defeated by France and authorized in 1852 by his friend Napoleon III to move to Syria, where he was joined by thousands of Algerians fleeing French colonization.

Apart from this solution, there is but one for you, though unfortunate for your family : death as Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi. Or life in prison in a sanitized cell in The Hague.


Friday, December 7th, 2012

Signed by Alfred Grosser, David Grossman, Claudio Magris, Orhan Pamuk, Boualem Sansal, Martin Walser. Contact: Denis Huber, Vereinigung der Schriftsteller für den Frieden, c/o Council of Europe allée de l’Europe, 67000 Strasbourg, Phone +33(0) / Fax : +33(0) E-Mail:

internationales literaturfestival berlin, Chausseestraße 5, D – 10115 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0)30 27 87 86 – 65  Fax: +49 (0)30 27 87 86 85
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The international literature festival berlin is an event organised by the Peter-Weiss-Stiftung für Kunst und Politik e.V. It is under the patronage of the German UNESCO Commission and is made possible by funds from the Hauptstadtkulturfonds. The international literature festival berlin is a guest of the Berliner Festspielen.