This is little Bashar, Bashar al-Zalfi. He was 10 years old when this photo was taken. He has your name. But he is nothing like you. He believes in peace, you believe in war. He believes in life, you believe in death. He has no money, you have billions. He has no home, you live in a palace. You took everything from little Bashar, but you cannot take his soul.
Little Bashar is your countryman. He is the future of Syria. But he may not have a future because of you. He was forced to flee, because of you. He was living in camps, because of you. He may be in a boat on the Aegean because of you. He may be dead, because of you.
Little Bashar says he will return to Syria. But what Syria? Over 4 million brothers and sisters have fled Syria, because of you. Thousands are dead, because of you. You were meant to be the father of your nation, but you are no father. A father is meant to care for his children, but you are no father. You are a monster. You are son of a monster. Sons learn from fathers. At some point every son chooses between good and evil. You chose wealth, privilege and power. You chose to follow in your father’s footsteps. You chose evil.
How does it feel to be Prince of the Ashes? How does it feel to be hated by millions? How does it feel to destroy a whole country? Can you sleep at night? Can you remember one single day in your life when you thought of anyone else but yourself? Do not blame others for the rise of IS in your country. You are to blame, you opened the door. You did not listen to your people. You oppressed your people. You tortured your people. And when they fought back, you dropped bombs on your people. You act like you are innocent. But you are not. You are the most guilty of all. Syria is your country. And you destroyed it brick by brick, stone by stone, life by life. You have wiped out a generation.
I blame the West for much. I blame the US and Britain for IS, Afghanistan, Iraq. I blame Europe for too little too late. But I blame you in entirety for starting it all. You are the sole author of Syria’s tragedy. I blame you for little Aylan. I blame you for little Bashar. I blame you.
Joanna, Citizen of the World
Photo of Bashar al-Zalfi: Mohammad Hannon, A/P
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