“Between me and you is the blood of five hundred thousand poor Syrians.”
by Firas Alassad (Facebook)
Introduction and translation by Amr Salahi for We Write What We Like
15 August 2019 (original post in English)
The following Facebook post was written by Firas al-Assad, one of the sons of Rifaat al-Assad. It is addressed to his brother Duraid. Their father, Rifaat al-Assad, is the brother of Hafez al-Assad and uncle of Syria’s current president Bashar al-Assad.
In the 1970s and 80s, Rifaat al-Assad was a powerful figure in Syria, taking charge of the feared Defense Companies. He is widely held responsible for the 1982 Hama massacre, in which up to thirty thousand Syrians were killed following a failed uprising against Hafez al-Assad’s regime. In 1983, when Hafez became seriously ill, Rifaat attempted to take charge of the country, trying to overrule the six-member emergency committee Hafez had appointed to rule in his stead. When Hafez’s health improved, he sent Rifaat into exile.
Rifaat has lived in France and Spain ever since, so far escaping prosecution for the Hama massacre and other crimes he committed in Syria. When Bashar succeeded Hafez in 2000, Rifaat initially opposed his nephew’s assumption of the presidency.
Firas has distanced himself both from his father Rifaat and his cousin Bashar. Duraid, however, remains loyal to his father and supports the Assad regime. The two brothers are currently engaging in a Facebook war, which has been widely reported in Arabic-language media.
To Dureid the Son of Rifaat La-Assad (“the Non-Lion”)
It’s not my fault, Dureid, that your uncle was victorious over your father, and it’s not my fault that your cousin became the ruler of Syria and left you to rule a Facebook page as a consolation prize.
And it wasn’t certain that you would inherit the leadership if your father had defeated your uncle, as you had hoped, because you know that your younger brother is everything to your father. And there’s no doubt that the Khayyir family – and you know who I mean by the Khayyir family – would have finished you with all their might and put you to one side, out of the way of your brother.
Their influence would have been without a doubt many times that which Syrians attribute to Mohammed Makhlouf and his sons, taking into account the difference in the relationship between the Khayyir family and Rifaat Al-Assad on the one hand and the Makhlouf family and Hafez al-Assad on the other. And everyone around your father knows what our share of the Khayyir family means and their total control of him.
It’s not my fault, O son of the leader of the Defense Companies, that you didn’t become the commander of the horsemen and a great leader.
It’s not my fault that the late Bassel [al-Assad, Bashar’s older brother] deprived you of competing in the horse-racing championships and told you – according to what you said – that “people won’t be able to take two heroes from the Assad family.”
It’s not my fault that your dreams of ruling Syria crumbled before your eyes.
It’s not my fault that your father didn’t attack your uncle in Kafr Sousseh – as you wished – when he had the opportunity and the tanks of the Defense Companies around him, while your uncle had only a few observers around him, including Bassel, whose presence you said was an opportunity which would never present itself again.
It’s not my fault that you accuse your father of cowardice and hesitation and hold him responsible for your dreams falling into a swamp of disappointment.
It’s not my fault that “their Makhlouf” felt superior to “your Makhlouf” and put him in a position different from the one you wanted.
It’s not my fault that you’re living glories which only exist in your own mind.
It’s not my fault that your cousin refused your father’s conditions – and they’re conditions he took from the Khayyir family – for his return to Syria.
It’s not my fault that I was shocked to learn in Europe – under your father’s care – that everything I had learned about nations and patriotism was lies and hypocrisy.
It’s not my fault that I was flabbergasted at your father’s requests to Julian Emery and François de Grossouvre.
It’s not my fault that I discovered in Europe the extent of the lies that every citizen in Syria lives.
It’s not my fault that you have cut me off for twenty-one years because I refuse to visit your father or even speak to him on the phone.
It’s not my fault that you love power, leadership, and rule and I love peace, love, and equality between people.
It’s not my fault that the Syrian people rose up against you because you have led them to a state of despair and revolt.
It’s not my fault that I refuse the killing and torture of innocents and the rape of women in prisons… It’s not my fault that I wasn’t created with a criminal, predatory, or savage nature.
It’s not my fault that my heart breaks for every Syrian child who dies in criminal bombing by a vile hater or despicable occupier.
It’s not my fault that my heart breaks for tens of thousands of poor young Syrians who were martyred or found themselves fighting in the ranks of the Syrian army to protect your regime, which could have avoided all this by showing some modesty towards its people. Would your uncle Hafez have accepted that Lavrov and Suleimani have the last word concerning Syria and the Syrian people? I swear by God that he would have hanged Atef Najib and Rami the Thief in the squares of Dera’a and Damascus to satisfy the Syrian people and prevent the collapse of the country.
Why do the people of Qardaha have to die while the young men of the Assad family make a commotion in the street with their Mercedes, smoke shisha in cafes, and fill Facebook up with their posturing posts?
Why do the sons of Muzaira, Jableh, Masyaf, Tartous, and Homs have to die while the son of Rami Makhlouf shows off his car and plane in Dubai?
Why don’t you and your brothers fight?
Even your brothers in Europe come and go to Damascus… well, go on a visit to one of the frontlines for a couple of days!
I swear I don’t wish harm on any of you but what about the blood of hundreds of thousands?! Aren’t they humans like you? Are your children more precious than the children of the poor?
Those who tell people to fight…should themselves fight, O son of a leader!
Those who ask the children of other people to die…should have their sons standing in the front rank.
Really there’s something I can’t understand…did God create you to be leaders and create poor Alawis to die for your leadership?
Why is it my fault, O son of the doctor, that you are killers, criminals, and mass murderers destroying your country, crushing your people and causing hundreds of thousands of people to die, while giving up your country to foreign occupation just for the sake of your position?
It’s not my fault that I don’t want to carry the burden of this on my conscience and in front of God.
It’s not my fault that I don’t want my children to carry the burden of all this killing, criminality, and cheapening of the lives of millions of people.
It’s not my fault that I wanted to break with all this history so my children could respect me when they grow up and so I could be the link that broke off the chain of criminality and attached itself to a new chain full of love and humanity.
It’s not my fault that many of our people believe you while you want to lie forever and ever.
It’s not my fault that many of our people don’t know what a nation is and consider that those who steal their whole country and give them a house or car or salary to buy their loyalty is doing them and their children a favor.
It’s not my fault that my conscience forces me to tell the truth to the people so I can light a candle in the darkness that you’ve kept people’s minds in for fifty years.
It’s not my fault that my heart breaks for Fadi Al-Qauzi, my poor driver, who was killed by this damned war of yours.
It’s not my fault that I refuse to belong to a family with a thousand faces, which doesn’t know right from wrong, which doesn’t know God and conscience, and which God and conscience don’t know.
It’s not my fault that you’re increasing your stores of gold, diamonds, and ancient artifacts in the “Fusch” cellars [reference to Rifaat al-Assad’s Paris address] while poor people are dying on the front lines while chanting your names.
It’s not my fault that I couldn’t be proud of you while knowing the truth.
It’s not my fault that I refused to be a cheap agent for foreigners.
It’s not my fault that I shouted in the face of that Saudi colonel and told him to carry that case of money to the car himself.
It’s not my fault that your father wanted me to humiliate myself in front of other people for money.
It’s not my fault that I refuse to care about my portion of your father’s inheritance while you grasp at it with your teeth and claws, and that’s why you rush to answer me every time I go deeper and deeper into my memories, so that your father can be satisfied with your good performance.
It’s not my fault that I have a brother who never thought of leaving even the price of a cup of juice off his brother’s bill for years while he is eating in his restaurants.
It’s not my fault that money is your god, Dureid…but not my god!
It’s not my fault that you only see Alawis as cattle to milk and donkeys to ride.
It’s not my fault that your father refused my repeated requests – through your brothers – to break with the past, confess to sins, and place all his material means at the service of poor and needy Syrians inside and outside Syria and the children of martyrs.
It’s not my fault that money to you is more precious than the blood of millions.
Tell your father that I tell him “fie” and “fie” and “fie” [mentioned in the Quran as something rude and forbidden to say to your parents].
Inform him that the Quran – which he never believed in for one day – didn’t mean him personally in that blessed verse. That verse was talking about parents who are human, children of Adam.
Tell him that the old fear has now been erased from my heart.
Tell him that he shouldn’t have hesitated to throw me in Lake Geneva when his knights, commandos, and valiant men carried me there…he would have been rid of me and my writings.
Tell him that my will today cannot be destroyed. My mother is now over eighty and her illness doesn’t leave her any space for more worries…like the worry of him.
Tell your regime in Damascus that I will see my mother, who they are preventing me from visiting…if not in Damascus then at the gates of heaven.
Tell them that my mother’s shoe is worth more than all of themselves.
And lastly Dureid, son of Abu Dureid…
Don’t ever say again that you are my brother, we were never brothers for a single day, and your father was never my father.
Search on my page for the last eight years until today…search through the hundreds of times I talked about your father in my memories and comments, you won’t find a single time where I called him my father – not one – and I only say “my father” so that I can clarify my words and so that people don’t get confused and misunderstand what I’m saying…he is not my father.
Between me and you is the blood of a hundred thousand poor Alawis – or more – who were killed to preserve your thrones.
Between me and you is the blood of five hundred thousand poor Syrians – or more – who were killed because you told them that our corruption is their fate, and our oppression is their fate, and our prisons are their fate, and their annihilation by us is their fate, and we are their supreme lords who they will worship.
You even told them that the corrupt Atef Najib and the thief Rami Makhlouf are their fate…so the people stopped believing in you, and the nation, and fate.
Between me and you are the remains of thousands of Syrian children whose bodies were torn apart by your barrel bombs and indiscriminate strikes and who you buried in the ruins of their houses.
Between me and you is the blood of my poor, gentle driver Fadi Al-Qauzi…
Between me and you is a huge desert, every grain of sand in which cries out that you are oppressors…
Between you and me are seas, in which every wave rises up to declare your arrogance and your persecution of people…
Between you and me are two words:
I will not be quiet.
Featured image: #FreeSyriasDisappeared by Delawer Omar. Source: Dawlaty.org (Facebook)
Text and additional images reprinted with permission of We Write What We Like editors.