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Dennis Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich / Op-Ed
Published: Monday 21 November 2011
“The United Nations estimates that over 3,500 civilians have been killed in [Syrian] protests since they began in March.”

Kucinich Calls for Open, Free and Fair Elections in Syria; Renews Call for an End to Violence

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Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a proponent of diplomacy and peaceful resolution to conflict, wrote to the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, calling for an end to the violent crackdown in Syria and for open, free and fair elections.

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear President Assad:

The democratic aspirations of the people of Syria cannot and should not be denied. While it is well established that armed insurgents have been working to foment a civil war in Syria, the impact of which further threatens the peace and stability of the region, it is also well established that the crackdown by regime security forces has killed thousands of innocent people. In the continuing interest of ending the violence and moving decisively toward reform, I make the following recommendation.

The time has come for you to call for open, free and fair elections in Syria. If you lead the way in this call, it will be a clear sign that you choose to rely on the Syrian people for support and legitimacy. It will also temper those elements in the security forces who feel that they are beyond the reach of democratic reforms.

Your call for free and fair elections in Syria must be accompanied by independent, international mediation which is needed to put out the fires of civil war. In addition, dialogue with opposition parties must be attempted in an effort to quell the current violence. Dialogue was a principal element of the Arab League peace plan and will be critical to advance any democratic transition.

Syria has become increasingly isolated. It needs to reach out to those in the international community who wish to see an end to the violence and the beginning of self-determination for the Syrian people. You can open the door by assuring the Syrian people and the international community of your intention to move toward democratic reforms, beginning with elections.

These steps are, at a minimum, what the people of Syria and supporters of the Syrian people worldwide have a right to expect from a government which is prepared to protect human rights and willing to set the stage for democratic reforms.

As you know, the situation in Syria continues to be both urgent and dangerous. The United Nations estimates that over 3,500 civilians have been killed in protests since they began in March. One-hundred and forty people are reported to have been killed in the past week alone. Thousands more have been detained and arrested. In addition, between 11,000 – 25,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring countries due to threats or violence.

A recently released report by Amnesty International titled “Health Crisis: Syrian Government Targets the Wounded and Health Workers” documents torture and other ill-treatment of wounded patients in “at least four government run hospitals…including by medical workers.”

I have personally expressed to you on previous occasions my concern with violent repression of peaceful protests which have been well-documented by human rights organizations. The violence waged by regime security forces is totally incompatible with your intent clearly expressed in our meetings. It is also inconsistent with the peace plan brokered by the Arab League that your government accepted on November 2. Escalation of violence against the Syrian people is self-defeating and will not quell their democratic aspirations or bring about stability.

In addition to urging you to call for free and fair elections, I once again request that your government to do its part to stop the violence and to allow independent human rights groups and the international media to enter Syria with unfettered access to all regions of the country.

It is still possible for Syria to achieve a new, democratic era. Much depends upon your willingness to break free of past structures which are no longer sufficient to maintain peace and stability in Syria. For the sake of Syria, and the world, I am hopeful that you will find the strength to move forward.

Sincerely,

Dennis J. Kucinich

Member of Congress



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ABOUT Dennis Kucinich

Having been elected to Cleveland's City Council at age 23, Dennis J. Kucinich was well-known to Cleveland residents when they chose him as their mayor in 1977 at the age of 31. At the time, Kucinich was the youngest person ever elected to lead a major American city. Since being elected to Congress in 1996, Kucinich has been a tireless advocate for worker rights, civil rights and human rights.
 

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3 comments on "Kucinich Calls for Open, Free and Fair Elections in Syria; Renews Call for an End to Violence"

Anonymous,I fear you'll have a hard time challenging yintanhg by calling yourself anonymous. If I may encourage you to use your first name so I could keep track of who's who, that would be most helpful. I have no way of knowing which anonymous commentator you are otherwise.I wonder why you feel the need to psychoanalyze me. I'm quite sure there are many wonderful Arabs. I've never suggested that Arabs are all the same. In fact, I have several dear friends who are Arabs, Middle Eastern, Druze, etc. As for Jews being pro-Israel the bulk are, especially in Israel. That's merely a reality largely ingrained in a quest for human survival. Would you expect an Israeli to want to see the destruction of their nation-state that they built from swamp and dirt?I find it questionable that you're so offended I'm pointing to the inhumane treatment Jews suffered under Syria's regime. Should I ignore that to appease anonymous commentators such as yourself? Should I deny my heritage to appease your distaste for Israel?Peace is mirage if you expect the bulk of Israeli Jewry to hide what they went through under Arab nationalist regimes. I haven't an ounce of European blood. So when anti-Zionists and/or anti-Semities tell me to go back to Europe, I can only conclude that they don't know the realities of what Mizrahi Jewry faced in their native lands or that they are hateful. I hope it's the former as ignorance, through education, can be corrected. With best regards,Reut R. Cohen

Matthew Jacobs

November 21, 2011 2:21pm

It was at least A Gesture, an Empty One ....But Still a Gesture!!!
Oh I forgot!!! its what Politicians do Right. Give the impression of Action while Doing No Such Thing.

Heidi Noperi

November 21, 2011 1:21pm

Ok, that's almost funny. This from a Country whose elected officials don't even believe in Democracy?? Give me a break,