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 recalled that the number of victims in Syria 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," they wrote.
“Mr. President, the situation seems hopeless, but there is however a simple way to save the Syrian people: resign,” the authors stressed. "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."
The authors called on Assad to announce his resignation and contact opposition 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.”