Authors urge Assad to resign or risk facing death

Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and Nobel laureate. (Photo: AP, Jacquues Brinon)

December 10, 2012, Monday/ 13:05:00

Six world-renowned authors have urged Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad in an open letter to resign or risk facing the fate of Iraq's Saddam Hussein or Libya's late dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Authors Alfred Grosser, David Grossman, Claudio Magris, Orhan Pamuk, Boualem Sansal and Martin Walser warned Assad that his country is in the process of disappearing as a result of the 20-month violence that has left nearly 40,000 dead in the letter, published online and dated Dec. 7.

They noted that the number of victims in Syria is growing at a staggering average of 150 deaths per day and as the wounded die from lack of care and those arrested disappear, the number may rise.

“Mr. President, the situation seems hopeless, but there is however a simple way to save the Syrian people: resign,” the authors stressed. They wrote that this is the “only real solution” for everyone, both for the Syrian people and the world.

The authors called on Assad to announce his resignation and “call the parties to negotiate a transition towards free elections under the auspices of the UN.”

The authors also offered Algeria as a possible safe haven and said if the Russians and the Chinese “refuse to welcome you, go to Algeria.” They said as “Algerians have a long memory, they will for sure remember that Syria gave refuge 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,” the letter warned.

The authors urged the Syrian president “not to cultivate illusions” and that the help the Syrian regime receives from certain countries such as Russia or China cannot “legitimate your acts, or reduce their horror.”