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An Open Letter to Kim Jong-Un

Dear President Kim Jong-Un

Supreme Leader of North Korea

We write this letter to you to raise a number of points that would demonstrate the depth of international concern about your country. In so doing, our wish is to help you improve your country’s image, strengthen your leadership and help the people of North Korea.

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2013 can be a time of opportunity for you to open a door that has long been shut without regard to the shifts in the world around. You can start off by reworking some policies and practices perpetuated since your father’s time—for the wellbeing of your own people.

More than 200,000 men, women and children are still being held in prisons and gulag camps in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Most of them have been incarcerated for political reasons and are not guilty of any internationally recognised crimes. Prisoners have to endure conditions that resemble the worst forms of human rights abuse and many die of starvation.

The human rights of the people of North Korea are routinely violated, despite its ratification of numerous international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

People are living in constant fear and insecurity, knowing if they do not follow the government-scripted codes of conduct it could result in the loss of their freedom, basic human rights, and their lives. They are subject to enforced disappearance, “unfree labour”, torture and execution.

The DPRK government stands guilty of crimes against humanity and flagrant violations of international laws. It is accused of arresting people on false premises and giving harsh penalties for small offences.

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Millions of North Koreans are suffering from hunger, malnutrition and inadequate health care. According to our understanding, the DPRK government has the capacity and resources to offer a minimum level of care to people but apparently it is neglecting it.

Let’s face it. People’s fundamental rights to freedom of expression and opinion and freedom of religion are not acknowledged in your country. Access to and sharing of information is restricted. The voices of dissent are ruthlessly suppressed. Whatever we know and hear about North Korea—considered to be the most tightly closed-off region in the world—come through the filter of a state-controlled media.

Food Shortages and Famines

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In March 2011, a joint UN survey estimated that over six million people in North Korea urgently required international food assistance to avoid famine. The World Food Programme called it the worst famine in a decade. Several NGOs and media outlets reported hunger-related deaths.

Some of the causes of the famine are harsh winters, destruction of harvests through floods, economic mismanagement, and the government’s discriminating food policies that favour the military, government officials, and other loyal groups.

Since 1995 the United States has provided North Korea with over $1 billion in help, about 60 percent of which was given as food aid and 40 percent for energy, according to a Congressional Research Service report in 2008. The aid was suspended halfway through due to a lack of transparency in aid distribution and the escalating tensions caused by the North’s nuclear missile tests and restrictions on international monitors.

More recently, reports surfaced about a ‘hidden famine’ in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae, killing up to 10,000 people so far. People were so desperate to ward off starvation that incidents of cannibalism rose dramatically. Yes, it is hard to believe in this modern age but ‘numerous testimonies’ have confirmed the shocking findings.

The international community is always willing to provide assistance to a people in need. But it is ironic that when you ask for food aid, the first question that comes to their mind is: will it be really delivered to the people for whom it is given, or it will be manoeuvred like before? They fear the fund might be used for military purposes.

Torture and Abuse of Human Rights

Individuals arrested on criminal charges often face torture by officials aiming to enforce obedience and extract bribes and information. Common forms of torture include sleep deprivation, beatings with iron rods or sticks, kicking and slapping, and enforced sitting or standing for hours. Prisoners are subject to pigeon torture, in which they are forced to cross their arms behind their back, are handcuffed and hung in the air tied to a pole, and finally beaten with a club causing loss of circulation or limb-atrophy that often leads to death within weeks.

Guards sometimes rape female detainees. One study done in 2010 found that 60 percent of refugee respondents who had been incarcerated saw a death due to beating or torture. Incidents of cannibalism were also reported in some prison camps as a result of confiscation of meat rations by prison officials.

Executions

North Korea’s Criminal Code stipulates that death penalty could be applied only for a small set of crimes, but these include vaguely defined offences such as “crimes against the state” and “crimes against the people” that could be and are applied broadly. What is concerning is that your government exercises inhuman methods of torture and execution.

In 2001, a condemned inmate had got his body torn apart by guard dogs as executioners fired. Three bullets shattered his skull, splattering blood near other prisoners who were forced to watch.

According to statements of some defectors, forced abortions have also become a common practice, and if babies are born, many of them are killed, sometimes before their mothers’ eyes.

Forced Labour Camps

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Testimonies from escapees have established that persons accused of political offences are usually sent to forced labour camps, known as “gwalliso”, operated by the National Security Agency.

The Kwan-li-so are gulags or concentration camps that, as of 2003, unlawfully detained about 200,000 North Koreans in a total of six to eight camps in remote valleys guarded by high mountains, in the country’s northern provinces. The Kwan-li-so violates international laws on multiple grounds and are generally charged with various crimes against humanity such as forced internment, forced labour, torture, rape, forced abortion, starvation, and death without charge or trial.

It is unfortunate that your government still practices collective punishment, sending people to forced labour camps to work under a “guilt-by-association” system (yeon-jwa-je), where not only the offender but also his or her relatives such as parents, spouse, children, and even grandchildren have to work. Some defected guards have said that they were taught to treat prisoners as national traitors who must suffer condemnation up to three generations of their families.

These camps are notorious for their inhumane living conditions and gross human rights violations, including severe food shortages, little or no medical care, lack of proper housing and clothes, mistreatment and torture by guards, and executions.

Forced labour at the gwalliso often involves strenuous manual labour such as mining, logging, and agricultural work, all done with rudimentary tools in dangerous and harsh conditions. Death rates in these camps are reportedly extremely high.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

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Your government has criminalised leaving the country without state permission and those who leave face harsh punishment if caught, including interrogation, torture, and other penalties. Those suspected of religious or political activities, including contact with South Koreans, are given lengthier terms in horrendous detention facilities or forced labour camps with chronic food and medicine shortages, harsh working conditions, and mistreatment by guards.

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans have fled since the 1990s, and some have settled in China’s Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture. Beijing categorically labels North Koreans in China “illegal” economic migrants and routinely repatriates them.

A number of North Korean women and girls have been trafficked into marriage or prostitution in China. Many children of such unrecognised marriages have been forced to live without a legal identity or access to elementary education, because their parents fear that if they register they would be identified by Chinese authorities and forcibly sent back home.

Government-Controlled Judiciary

Your country’s judiciary system is not independent as all staff including judges, prosecutors, lawyers, court clerks and jury members are appointed and controlled by the Supreme People’s Assembly. The judges remain highly vulnerable to threats from the government which can subject them to “criminal liability” for handing down “unjust judgments.” The penal code, with definitions of offences and penalties often ambiguous and open to interpretation, is not also consistent with the principles of modern criminal law.

Anything done in opposition to the regime is treated as political crimes, leading to strict punishment and subjugation. When a person is arrested for political crimes, suspects are not even sent through a nominal judicial process; after interrogation they are either executed or sent to a forced labour camp, often with their entire families.

Your government uses fear by threats of forced labour and public executions to prevent dissent, and imposes harsh restrictions on freedom of information, association, assembly, and travel.

Your government periodically investigates the “political background” of the citizens to review their level of allegiance to the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WRK), and forces those who fail such assessments to leave the capital.

Military-First Policy

A strong leadership for a battered economy like yours is essential. But you seem to have chosen your father’s military-first policy instead of a peaceful and diplomatic process. Your actions stand in direct contrast to your pronounced resolve to rebuild your country’s moribund economic condition.

This was proven once again on Saturday (26 January) when you decided to take the path of “retaliation” in response to an American-led United Nations sanction on North Korea. You have reportedly ordered your party officials to take “substantial and high-profile state measures” to conduct a third nuclear test to show your ability to “target” the U.S. But the sanction, which was also a response to your government’s December 12 rocket launching, was not uncalled-for. Carrying out such expensive and destructive experiments is not the way to boost an impoverished economy.

Last words

Dear President Kim Jong-Un, have you ever paused for a moment and considered how you really want to be remembered by your people? As a dictator? Or a people’s leader? Perhaps you should. How you are remembered would be determined by how you act as a statesman.

The fact is, your treatment of your people resembles the way some former dictators used to treat their people, sending them to camps or execute them. Hitler organised the execution of the Holocaust, the systematic extermination of six million Jews and millions of other non-Aryans. Josef Stalin deliberately orchestrated the famine that claimed between 7 and 11 million lives in Ukraine and in parts of the Soviet Union. Pol Pot, through his hegemonic agrarian socialism, caused the deaths of approximately 26 percent of the total Cambodian population.

These dictators died a very disgraceful death. Not to mention, their people hated them for what they did and associated them with all that is evil and heinous. We urge you to take lesson from their fates and end all violations of human rights in your country.

We urge you to abandon the decades-long systematic pattern of human rights abuses committed by Pyongyang against its people and sincerely hope that you will create your own legacy. You can restore the North Koreans’ trust in their rulers and gain their respect by upholding their human rights.

If you want to be remembered as the man who stood against the current and abandoned a brutal legacy, it is the time. Your people need democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion. We are in the 21st century and there is no room for dictatorship at the expense of precious lives and basic rights.

Your late father, Kim Jong-II, isolated your people from the modern world, so much so that those few North Koreans who managed to escape had to spend several months in special care schools to adjust themselves to the ways of the 21st century.

Whom are you trying to punish? The western world doesn’t suffer from this, only your people do. Last year’s rocket launch failure cost your government $850 million, enough to feed millions who are starving to death.

Women suffer the most in a famine situation; every 40 of 1000 women had died in the previous famines. They also suffer due to the gendered structure of North Korean society. Women face problems like anaemia, premature birth and haemorrhage because of vitamin deficiency.

Children also face high mortality rates. The main reason behind the deaths of infants under two is the lack of breastfeeding. A child may die because of various reasons such as prenatal, neonatal and postnatal complications. A child may die even long after it was born owing to reasons of malnutrition, infections and so on. So, a high-impact prevention policy is necessary to redress the mortality problems.

Another thing that you should look into is the violation of individual’s right to privacy. Every home in your country is forced to set up a portrait of the “Great Leader” Kim II Sung and the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong II. Inspectors come on a surprise visit and hand out fines if the portraits are not well-kept. Every adult citizen must also wear a button of Kim II Sung!

It is quite ironic that since its establishment, the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea could never justify the purpose of its official name. When a country’s name says it is democratic, it has a moral obligation to be so. Its leadership should work towards uplifting the democratic values and allow people to apply their choices to elect or change their own representatives. If North Korea is a democratic state, it is indeed the worst kind of it in the entire history of democracy. There can be no justification for Mao Tse-Tung—styled “people’s democratic dictatorship,” which is only an extended version of dictatorship sustaining repression and regimentation.

A democracy should serve its people’s interests and work for their prosperity by empowering them with the power of their rights and freedom to choose their path of livelihood. The citizens of North Korea under your leadership are far from getting any such privileges. Over the years their lives have been made miserable and their rights deliberately denied.

We, on behalf of your people who have no means to express themselves, would like to pose a few questions which may provide some food for your thought:

Q.1. Being a young leader of this country, what are the ways you seek to bring the lives of the people at par with the lives of those on the other side of the DMZ?

Q.2. Do you and your regime still think you have the consent and mandate from common people to continue your job?

Q.3. In this world of globalisation, is this right to keep North Korea isolated and its people more like distant aliens away from the advancements of civilisation?

Q.4. Is it not your duty to respect the rights of your people who have obeyed your family’s leadership for decades, albeit with little improvement in their living conditions?

Q.5. In what context does your leadership thinks that North Korea could be a role model for peace and humanity for the world?

Q.6. Are nuclear weapons more important than your people’s prosperity? Should they remain hungry and half-fed to fuel your baseless ambitions?

Q.7. Does North Korea’s age-old socialistic framework, which has no acceptance and practicability in this age of democracy, still holds the future for its people?

Mr. President, before you answer these questions, you must first think that even those whom your regime has followed as leadership models were washed over by the tides of time and their system had to be remodelled to suit the needs of a changing world.

You should analyse your position in light of that. The direction in which you and regime have being heading has outlived its relevance. You must change your direction now and democracy is all you have at the moment. You are standing at a crossroads in history and a bold decision can seal your place permanently in the heart of your people. Even with a functional democracy you can continue your lineage and continue to serve your people.

Our humble wish is that you would be able to rise to the occasion and do what must be done today or tomorrow.

On behalf of ‘The Oslo Times’

Yours Sincerely,

Hatef Mokhtar

Editor in Chief

Oslo, Norway

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Cubans were clever in dealing Guantanamo Bay with US – says Mileydi Fougstedt from Cuba

Mileydi Fougstedt was born in Havana, Cuba in 1970. After finishing high school she moved to Sweden.
There she began looking for some kind of organization that worked for democracy promotion in Cuba. But there were very few Cubans in Sweden and the cold war was still raging.

Many years later she got involved in the struggle for democracy. At first she did it anonymously to enable her to return home and visit her family.

After visiting Cuba in 2007 and deciding that the system must be changed as soon as possible, she started working openly. Directly after the “elections” in Cuba in 2008 she was invited to comment on them on Swedish TV and was subsequently informed that she would not be welcome to Cuba any more…

Mileydi continued working on the magazine and eventually was offered a full-time position as editor. They have different projects with the independent press and the independent libraries which work with both children and adults. Her dream is to start a project helping women on the road to empowerment, especially in terms of education (entrepreneurship) and to get them more involved in political issues.

When ‘The Oslo Times – Editor in Chief Hatef Mokhtar’ met her for an exclusive interview this is what she has to say about her struggle and the Cuban state of Communism.

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TOT: Being born in Cuba, what do you think that Communism has done to the Cuban culture and people?

Mileydi: The first thing that comes to mind is that the communist system has broken family ties; it has divided families and forced them to emigrate to other countries. In my case, four out of five family members now live outside Cuba. Regrettably the communist system has also destroyed many of the rich traditions, both cultural and religious, that Cuba enjoyed as a country founded on many nationalities, besides Spanish, African and indigenous, as well as nine religions that have co-existed peacefully for centuries.

TOT: What consequences have you and your people faced for taking a stand against Communism?

Mileydi: In a country like Cuba there is no space for individuals to express their thoughts, let alone act on them. There are no free elections, no freedom of press or expression, no freedom to create NGOs, civil organizations or parties. The government has total control of the media. An article in the Cuban constitution approves “freedom of speech, press and all the other rights and liberties stated in the Human Rights Convention” but the following article states that “None of the above rights and liberties mentioned in the Cuban constitution can be used against the Socialist State. If so, it is punishable…”.

This means that you can be persecuted and imprisoned for your views or actions, even if they are non-violent.

TOT: What do you have to say about Fidel Castro’s leadership and his effect on Cuban society?

Mileydi: Fidel Castro is a very cunning man who came to power at the right moment, back in 1959 when a change was needed. Right after that the personal cult around him grew to be limitless. Soon pictures of him, his brother Raul and Che Guevara appeared everywhere on the streets alongside the slogans. Fidel Castro became the figurehead of the revolution. He is very eloquent but manipulative. Soon people hung pictures of him in their living room beside pictures of their relatives out of fear, to show any visitors that they supported Fidel Castro and the revolution. His image and the ideals of the revolution became the new religion of Cubans.

TOT: Do you think Fidel Castro’s role has lead Cuba into economic and political isolation from the rest of the world? If yes, what policies were they?

Mileydi: This is a very complex question. Fidel Castro started by nationalizing all the companies in Cuba which might have been needed at the time if he wanted to make the nation, “national”, which was what he had promised to the Cuban people. However, he soon aligned with the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. This gave him the economic, political and military support to promote Communism elsewhere, or wherever the Russians instructed him to. This was also a time when the Cuban revolution inspired other Latin American countries, so that its leader, Castro had the chance to send troops. Even Che Guevara left Cuba for Bolivia after driving the Cuban economy to the bottom during his time as Director of Cuban National Bank.

TOT: What is the situation regarding women’s rights in Cuba? How they are treated in Cuban society?

Mileydi: This is a question that lies very close to my heart. There is a lot of work to be done for the rights of Cuban women. Women in Cuba have access to education and health care in general. Even if women have more rights than “before the revolution”, e.g. the right to work without the permission of the husband, access to contraception, the right to divorce a man, and also have the final word when it comes to the difficult question of abortion, women still lack social acceptance in many aspects and are still considered the weaker gender.

Cuban women, for example, lack protection against domestic violence. Even though there is a law against killing a woman there is no law against a man hitting her. If there is a case of domestic violence, there is still the conception that “she likes it – that is why she stays with him”. The Police would say that they have no authority to interfere “between a man and a woman”.

In a rape case, the woman is questioned more as to how many men she has had, what clothes she was wearing. etc. A woman has a lower social standing if she does not have a man by her side. This is particularly difficult for the older generation, as so many men have left the country in the search for a better future and the women stayed behind to look after the families.

Many Cuban women have some kind of degree or at least a diploma that could make them finally independent. However they cannot provide for their families. Even if a Cuban woman who is an engineer makes as much money as her male counterpart, it is totally worthless because the salary is not enough to cover even basic expenses.

Unfortunately, with the opening of tourism in Cuba, prostitution has returned, and it might be as high or even higher than “when Cuba was the Americans’ playground with all the American marines”. But while back then these prostitutes had no education, women today have degrees and do not sell themselves only to the Americans but to men (and maybe women) of all other nationalities that come to Cuba to enjoy themselves. Even Fidel Castro himself talked to the nation during early 90s stating “that the Cuban prostitutes had the highest level of education, they are true professionals”. Please give me a break!!!

TOT: Do people with certain rights under the constitution of Cuba have remained in prolonged suppression since then?

Mileydi: The current constitution was created 1976 and was amended in 1992 and 2002. As I mentioned before, Cuban citizens have the right to vote for their closest neighbour, representing them to the next municipal level, but they don’t stand a chance of voting at the really high decision-making level, which would mean the difference, meaning the Parliament. At the same time, what is the point in voting if we only have one party which is communist and does not accept any other ideology, and when there is more or less only one candidate? We need a multiparty system. At the moment, all the changes which Raúl Castro’s government is proposing are in fact unconstitutional since they do not comply with the Socialist ideals stated in the last amendment to the constitution in 2002. This is how arbitrarily the country is being run.

TOT: Does discrimination exist in Cuba between white & black? And if so, to what extent has it affected Cuban society?

Mileydi: You only need to take a look at the composition of the current Cuban government to realize that racism is not over in Cuba. Officially the Cuban government is made up of 41% women, 31% coloured and blacks and the rest white males. The main question, however, is whether these 41 and 31 ‘percent’ have any real power. There is only one black man and one coloured woman in more centralized power. Of course there have been improvements since 1959, especially with regard to legislation. Interracial marriages in Cuba are more accepted today and in general everyone goes to school and socialises with children of all colours. But deep down there is still differentiation and discrimination against people of darker skin colour, one of the worst legacies left over from colonial times. This is also one of the biggest social challenges; it is still in the neighbourhoods where the majority of the population is black that we face the biggest social problems and poverty. We want equal opportunities for all!

TOT: What forced you to leave your country and under what circumstances?

Mileydi: As soon as I became conscious about the rights and wrongs in terms of politics, I woke up. I was a very rebellious teenager generally. I was an elite fencing athlete and they did not trust me simply because I spoke English and I enjoyed British and American music, i.e. the music of the enemy. I did not like the idea that “my” medals were the revolution’s medals, as they tried to imprint in our brains, and I expressed those ideas openly. I was never trusted and never allowed to participate in international competitions. That was the beginning of my political awakening. On a social level I was not happy with the way women were treated generally. Eventually I left the country because I met a lovely Swedish man. He was a journalist, hardly a profession which he could exercise in Cuba, with all the rights and credentials a normal journalist is entitled to, and we eventually decided to move to Sweden.

TOT: Which Castro brother do you think has brought most change to the lives of Cubans? Is it Fidel or Raul? Are there any reforms which have been introduced recently by Raul’s government?

Mileydi: The direct answer to that question is of course Fidel Castro. He was in power for many years and his manipulative style lasted only until 2006 when he fell ill. Otherwise he would still be running the show to this day. There are many changes brought about by them that we could talk about, some of them might be true. Free education, free health care, free sports practice, highly subsidized cultural events and so forth. But what is the advantage of having free education, but not being able to decide what you can read or write. W what is the point with free health care if, at this point for example, many Cuban doctors are in other countries, working for a salary of USD 200, while the government charges at least USD 2,000 each month for their services, and they are monitored all the time. The shortage of medications is high and the prices in CUC are equivalent to at least a month’s salary. Additionally, the conditions in Cuban hospitals are deplorable, despite what the government says. The hospitals for the Cuban population are a disgrace!

Raúl Castro is a military man, pragmatic, does not want to lose power. He would do anything not to lose it. Last year, before the party congress, there was a document with 300 suggested improvements for Cuba. Among these was the possibility to open your own business irrespective of whether or not you have the skills. This was the solution that Raúl Castro found when he mentioned that “measures had to be taken because Cuba was on the verge of collapsing”. The state, being the only employer, decided to fire over one million people over a year, with no pension, no unemployment insurance and no offers for re-education or training. Eventually it turned out that people could run a small business but with the state in charge of wholesale! This proves that even if they say that they want to “lighten up”, they are in fact just “tightening the rope” from a different angle.

TOT: What is your take on what the US detention facility at Guantanamo has done to Cuba’s image?

Mileydi: I think that the Cuban government has been very clever in dealing with this matter. The base is on Cuban soil, but it belongs to and it is governed by the Americans. From the beginning the Cuban government tried to implement a kind of embargo on the base. For example, they are not allowed to recruit locals and the drinking water supply was cut off. Today, however, the base is totally self-sufficient and only two locals of very old age cross the “Gate” every day to work on the base. Whatever happens on the base is the Americans’ responsibility. For example when the ten Afghan men were imprisoned in Guantanamo Navy Base without proper legal representation, this was an excellent opportunity for the Cuban government to demonstrate “that the Americans are the bad guys”, just like they love categorizing the US government. The Cuban government uses the issue of the Naval Base however and whenever it suits them. It is as simple as that.

TOT: What steps have you have taken to promote democracy and its values in Cuban society?

Mileydi: I was always interested in promoting democracy in Cuba but as I mentioned before you will be harassed and jailed for expressing any opinion against the current regime. Since mid-2000 I have collaborated with the organization Misceláneas de Cuba. At the beginning I did so sporadically and anonymously in order to be able to visit Cuba. But since February 2008 I have worked openly and at the end of 2010 was finally offered a full-time position as Web Editor. Misceláneas de Cuba is a platform to support the opposition, the bloggers, human rights activists, NGOs, HBT organizations, the independent press and the network for independent libraries. Misceláneas de Cuba publishes news from the independent press daily on the web, as well as a weekly newsletter and a magazine which comes every two month. We have a big project with the Independent Libraries Network and we are hoping to develop other projects in the near future.

TOT: How you see Cuba in the near future and do you believe that there will be a major transformation in the country? 

Mileydi: The current government is a “gerontocracy” as we call it in Cuba (old men who have shared the power amongst themselves). The average age on the Central Committee is 69. Due to nature laws there will be changes in the Cuba government structure in the next ten years. A sudden change, such as the death of Raúl or Fidel Castro, could trigger political change but we do not know to what extent since some of the “old men” will still be in power. The younger generations want change, and if they, along with the opposition, are given the opportunity to hold fair elections change is inevitable. The government itself is implementing a few so-called “decadent capitalist” reforms under their own blessing. It would not be surprising to see those changes slipping out of their hands. This is why they are “loosening the leash at one end and tightening it at the other”.

TOT: How do you find Sweden’s role in granting you support for your cause and role for the Cuban people?

Mileydi: I am very grateful for Sweden’s support for our cause. The left-wing Swedish governments through the years have been very friendly with the Cuban government but in recent years there have been an awakening in Sweden about the real situation of Human Rights and about the importance of a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba. The current government is very conscious of the reality in Cuba and works actively also within the EU to pressure the Cuban government into reforms.

TOT: In your view what are the challenges being faced by Cuban people in the 21st century

Mileydi: There are different types of challenges ahead: economic, social and political. The biggest economic challenge that Cuban people will have to face is trying to rebuild a country totally run-down by the communist system. Whatever infrastructure there was 50 years ago is totally destroyed today. Industries that were big and lucrative, such as sugar cane, are today in ruins. Corruption has grown enormously, especially among the Police and the Military, to an extent that even Raúl Castro has admitted publicly.

Regarding the social challenges, a crucial one is trying to convince the people, especially the youth, that there is a future waiting for them and that it is worth engaging in the work of contributing to a long overdue improvement. In addition to this, although the regime denies it, the class system in Cuba exists and in recent years has strengthened. The living conditions in the capital and in rural areas are not equal and parts of the population are living well below a decent standard, which is not decent considering the Cuban government denies this reality.

Regarding political challenges, it is not only the lack of free elections, fair play, democracy, respects for human rights and all the other basic rights that Cuban citizens are entitled to and lack today. The biggest political challenge lies in regaining the confidence and trust of people, not only in politicians but also each other. They have been let down for over 50 years through a system of snooping and spying on each other and it might take another 50 to repair it completely. But I believe that campaigning, educating and following up the compliance of the democratic rules and values is a good way to speed up this process once a new government is in place.

TOT: Do you think Cuba has come out of the pariah state that it used to be? If yes, then what has helped Cuba to enter the main world stage?

Mileydi: Cuba is still a pariah state. Its allies are countries that commit most of the crimes against Human Rights and what is worse, they deny it and help each other cover their back at UN and EU meetings. When the subject of Human Rights comes up they interrupt the speaker of any country who is about to denounce a human right violation in their own country or the country of an ally. Cuba has a long way to go before it can enter main world stage.

TOT: How do you want to see Cuba in the future and where?

Mileydi: Oh, my dream for Cuba to become prosperous nation, not only in terms of economy, but also socially, politically and spiritually. I want to see a nation free from tyranny and military rule of any kind. I want peace, transparency, tolerance, free elections, and freedom of speech, increased respect and basic rights for the children, women and minority groups. Cubans need liberty to develop the country economically. All Cubans should be free to decide what to do with their lives, whether they live on the island or not, and they should not need a visa or pay high sums of money to return home.

All Cubans on the island should have the right to travel abroad without restrictions. Like many of the Cuban migrants to the USA, the Cuban people have already shown that they are able to prosper when given the opportunity. On the other hand they have also proven to be very inventive in the way they survive despite the lack of opportunity in Cuba. Maybe there would be a bridge (why not physical as well?) between Havana and Miami.

In any case, ties between Cubans on both sides of the water will keep getting better and stronger. This is a dream scenario: people putting the memories of a horrific government behind them and building a better future for Cuba together. And if I can dream a little bit more, I like to see all this happening from a little house by the beach in Havana, with a small boat parked in front.

 

©The Oslo Times  All Rights Reserved.

My words and my answer to those who hate me

I am a brave person with a power of confidence and knowledge who have always accepted risk in his life and I have enjoyed standing against extremism. Do what you want to do, do whatever you can do. I am a lion whose nature is to die like a soldier and live like a leader.

Two Faces of One Coin: Extremism and Fascism

The world has known, for centuries, extremism where the norms are breached by those who wish to carry on with their un-adjustable approach in the society. It flourishes where there is no acceptance to the national political system or the existence of suppressive local customs. As the human civilization progresses and develops complexities in terms of territory, race, linguistic, tribe, culture, religion and many such things which were created and formed by man to make his own world of creations and justice.

Extremism has existed in each and every corner of this world since ages. No matter which religion you follow or believe, you will come across a stream of generation which believes in going beyond the defined norms of that sect. Earlier when the world was witnessing revolutions headed by the numerous prophets in every age of the angelic era the extremism was defined on the religious terms and was being termed as the religious extremism whose motive was to just spread their religion on to others. Then as the world moves and various distinct religions established their sphere this divided the entire generations of the human race into world of racism and discrimination. The new forms of once a single meaning word of extremism whose definition used to be just one and on one ground now was on the path of the transformation where the differences in the ideology which the various religions brought with them started to create the fault line between the personal norms and the norms of others who do not follow your norms. The most long serving example of this divide which goes beyond the lines of every norm set by the human society is between the Jews and the other global religions which has given rise to countless forms of extremism along with their own senseless and inhuman reasons. In today’s world which has survived the worst wars, genocides and natural disasters has now come to a point where it faces the threat of extremism in various forms and it kinds.

Modern and Historical forms of Extremism as defined by many scholars:
1.) Racial / Ethnical: This form is one of the forms of extremism which was developed in the era of imperialism when powers from around the world were fighting wars to establish their foothold and when they started to indulge in the slave trade. This form over the years has developed into a much common and wide spread form of extremism where it too has developed many sub categories of its own like: racial extremism against foreign immigrants / developing of gethos or restricted neighborhoods for specific community / organized racial or ethical gangs like Skin Heads of UK specifically in London, Nazis of Russia specifically in Moscow.

2.) Cultural Extremism: Cultural extremism happens when a community / state or a person forces others to accept its culture and its norms without giving or recognizing targeted community / society / group/ person its culture and values. The laws related to Blasphemy sometimes shows and present the picture of forcible and unacceptable behavior of one’s culture and acceptance to it which are mostly designed to curtail it and suppress the rise of others other than the state. Just like the laws related to Blasphemy in Pakistan.

3.) Religious Extremism: When a religious group of fundamentalists supports an ideology which goes beyond the set and accepted norms of religion and when other religions and neutrals within their own society start to feel their unwanted enforcement the modern examples where it has existed throughout in the countries are: Arab Jewish conflict, Pakistan Republic and Fundamentalists, Taliban etc.

4.)  Theological Extremism: When a particular religious faction imposes its belief or tries to suppress another of its kind with a different theological setup nevertheless this kind of large scale wide spread extreme perceptions and unaccepted suppression can be seen in the more organized political and recognizable framework of a new political distinction of extremism which is fascism.

The countries where one can witness these kinds of extremities of distinct theologies. Shiaite Iran suppressing Sunni minority, Alawite Minority regime suppressing and enforcing norms on Sunni majority and Kurds in Syria, Kurds and Shia minorities being suppressed by Sunni majority in Iraq, various ideological factions in Pakistan and Afghanistan suppressing each other’s and enforcing their ideologies in forcible manner by implementing extreme measures to spread their cause and mindsets.

Theological differences in Hinduism and Sikhism in India, Various existing ideologies among Buddhism and Buddhist majority countries like the one among Chinese Han and Tibetans, Mongoloids and Chinese, Differences between and un-acceptance in Indian – Chinese.

5.) Political extremism: It belongs mostly to a much more advanced form of extremism known as fascism where the leader and his regime has national interests at large for the entire country instead of self-satisfying public interests as in democracies. This kind of extremism exists in the societies and flourishes where public is upset with the national form of governmental setup and policies, extreme national isolation in the state, high level of suppression and discrimination among various communities in the state and enforcement of unacceptable laws which hinders and endangers their communal or linguistic or religious identities. The best real life examples of it can be seen in history as well as in today’s world like Nazism in Germany which gone against the existence of Jewish community which faced a horrible holocaust at the hands of state. Syrian Alawite regime of Assad and his son Bashar, Late Col; Gaddafi and his rule of fist in Libya over other tribes and communities, Iranian Shiaite regime in Iran suppressing other minorities like Sunni, Bahai, Zoroastrian. Burmese Military Junta headed government, China’s communist government and its suppressive policies over its people and other communities living in autonomous regions and even sometimes goes beyond the national boundaries of it like affecting Taiwan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, Japan, India, Russian far east, Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang. Serbia – Bosnia crisis, Kosovo crisis, Belarus, Saudi Arabia’s monarchy famous for its beheading convictions and other extreme judicial measures. Suppressive policies of North Korean regime and its Kim family.

6.) Militancy / Terrorism / Revolutionaries: This is the most modern form of extremism which has now evolved as one of the most sophisticated forms of extremism challenging the entire global political, economic, bureaucratic setup of the global community. These kinds of extreme existence and buildup works like a parallel government and system to the national framework where the national domain exists within the purview of the state but has no control and jurisdiction over the social setup and accessibility to the affected region sometimes even the government too gets involved in taking the extreme measures like by implementing draconian laws which provides much larger role to the defense forces and its paramilitaries.

This has now become the most visible and practicable form of extremism which has lured and is attracting millions across the globe to carry out its revolution through destructive means. The examples of this kind can be easily seen and monitored in various countries which too includes some of the most prosperous and developed countries like: Chechnya in Russian Federation, Naxalities / Maoists / North – East Separatist Groups / Khalistanis / Kashmir freedom movement in India, Maoist movement in Nepal, erstwhile LTTE in Sri-Lanka, Separatist movements in Indonesia, Baluchistan freedom movement, Waziristan – FATA regions, Gilgit – Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, Sind freedom movement in Pakistan, Kurdistan freedom movement in Iraq, Separatist movement in Yemen, IRA in Northern Ireland – UK, PLO movement in Palestine and Israel, Turkistan freedom movement – Xinjiang, Tibetan movement in China, Militancy affected Northern Burma, Somalia – terrorist ruled state, DRC and ROC in twin Congo’s affected by prolonged civil war, militancy and revolutionaries movements and their buildup can be seen in throughout African continent the countries which are affected are: Liberia, Somalia, DOC, ROC, Central African Republic, Chad, Western Sahara – Morocco, Angola, Uganda, Rwanda who witnessed history’s worst genocide, Sudan – South Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast. ETA armed campaign in Basque province of Spain. FARC, ELN, Para military in Columbia, Chechnya crisis in Russia, Hindu – Sikh – Muslim terror outfits and organization activities in India.

7.) Lingual extremism: This basically reflects the un-identification of other spoken languages in the state over the national lingua-franca chosen or decided by the state. It is also one of the most ancient form of extremism where state forcibly implements the policy of on other lingual communities and their stream of dialects spoken by them are denied the national recognition and importance as an accepted workable script. The state imposes and forces the alien communities to learn and accept officially the national language or other as chosen official by it on the specific community or tribe. The examples of its kind are: republics or communities of central Asian and eastern Europe under Soviet control were forced to adopt Russian as their mother tongue while their local dialects or even practicing of it or studying were banned or in some areas restricted to a confined quarters. Autonomous regions and communities living in these regions in China face the same, many tribal areas and the communities living in these regions in India also witness the extreme enforcement policies or authoritarian behavior by the local authorities to accept Hindi as their language. Most of South Asian Pacific countries too witnessing the same kind of extreme measures taken by their respective governments sometimes in the shape of judicial framework, sometimes through research policies in the national or local language in the name of making it more compatible to outside world. The most extreme behavior was seen during the imperial era or the age of colonialism when European powers took some extreme measures and gone beyond the human norms to force the acceptance of their national languages like English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish etc to be accepted by their slave and the communities living in their captured / invaded colonies as their mother language. The example of European colonial era’s lingual extremism can be seen in the countries of Africa where French is the most widely spoken language of many countries as their national language, Some countries of Asia like India and other South Asian countries where English has become the second official language after their national language, Oceania – Australia and New Zealand where English is treated as the mother tongue even of the natives who have lived there since the early years of human civilization, South and Latin Americas where on one hand Brazil has become the largest country outside Portugal to speak Portuguese as the national language and with the rest of countries in the continent adopted Spanish as their mother tongue hence; shredding their national and cultural identities defined by their extinct lingual patterns, North America where English has become their mother tongue and in some quarters being a French exception like Quebec in Canada.

http://theoslotimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1223:the-inhuman-governance-fascism&catid=127:editorial&Itemid=644

India, the country ruled by a number of colonial powers has seen it happening in its own boundary where in one part Portuguese is still widely spoken and is an official language of many states ruled by Portugal, French also has an official status in some states which were once ruled by and got independence from France and it is the second most widely spoken European language in India after English.

As discussed in these points Fascism also reflects the organized form of self-styled governance by the state where nationalism is of the outmost importance and personal priorities has no space in the national agenda.
These kinds of regimes and ideologies are popular and exist where national spirit is very high and parties gains the support by large national majorities. Its major and sole aim is to live up to its nation and increase the level of national identity in the international arena against the more democratic and public favored policies.

Fascism can never stand against the regimes which support democracy and where demand for values of human rights is more important for the public. Fascist regimes practice the single party form of government where only the ruling party has vested powers for its interest prioritizing the national interests of the country while being expansionist in nature. Fascism introduced no systematic exposition of its ideology or purpose other than a negative reaction against socialist and democratic egalitarianism.

Many says mostly Europeans that Fascism was born during the pre-world War II era but my point is to bring to the notice of all those who have shrunken its definition and its origins. Fascism does not belong or was born during Hitler’s time even though the term got originated by then but if we have look at the history the old form of fascism has always remained in the kingdoms or sometimes we call it more popularly monarchies. Both the systems have many similarities in functioning, in terms of nationalism, rulings, suppression and even in its authoritarian nature like in absolute monarchies there is only a family who rules the nation and its people, which has the vast interests of the supreme national priorities going beyond even the borders of its own kingdom.

Fascism became advanced during WWII when Hitler and Mussolini came to power and gave the new definition of a rule which, though, was directly controlled by a leader and single party but has the reference towards the kind of royal functioning just like in many existing absolute monarchies for example of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain where people have no say or control over their rights and their choice but have the acceptance of the suppressive policies formulated by their direct rulers or the dictators. In the same manner Fascism is a term which gives an organized and sophisticated meaning to its older version of monarchy.

The major difference between the two is that in fascist regimes people are from general background or are revolutionaries who have large national agendas for their people and nations but has no values for human rights as if the people has their rights then the nation cannot be united at one front to serve the common interest of the country for which the leader who is leading a fascist state has much larger role to play for building the nationalism. Fascism though is an umbrella word for most of the direct single party regimes which though have the characteristics of fascism but also differentiate on many grounds with each other as these regimes are mostly based on self-styled rule of their respective leaders where the difference lies in terms of the kind of ideology being followed and the nature of their national interests. However these regimes no matter how much they differentiate with each other’s similar format they have at least some characteristics in them always and these are:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Gender bias-nous – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often is the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police is given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Overall when we say and have a look extremism and fascism no matter how differentiated they look but both these terms are just the two faces of one coin which has only hurt and wounded the human civilization since the time unknown sometimes in the name of religion, sometimes in the name of culture / community and sometimes just for their own personal interests. These terms are not and nothing to do with any religion or community or culture it exists everywhere and in every community or religion no matter whether it is Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists or anyone.

The media and the responsible agencies must take the responsibility to come out of their stereotyping nature and vision. & stop propaganda about which has nothing to do with humanity and justice. I request on the behalf of The Oslo Times team and network that media should stop making the villains heroes and the heroes into villain. Media is an eye of the public and ear of its nerve so, if it plays the irresponsible role then who the public would trust and believe.

The fruit seller who threw down the dictators

Mohammed Bouazizi or Basboosaas his friends called him was a poor fruit seller who had been working since he was 10 year old. he was only 3 years old when his father passed away and the little he earned was used to keep his mother, uncle and 6 siblings alive. He was used to being harassed by the local police for quite sometime but he would continue working with his handcart where he stashed vegetables and fruits. But this would come to an end December 17, 2010.

The female policeofficer, Faida Hamdi confiscated his handcart the day after he had borrowed money to buy more vegetables. Besides taking away his only income, the police officers had cussed him out in public, beaten him and called his late father bad names.

The shame, frsutration, desperation and humiliation had become too much for the 26 year old boy. He doused himself in petrol and set fire. And with him a whole region burnt down.

His suicide sparked the frustration the Tunisian people had felt for a long time and using Facebook and Al Jazeera, they spread the story about the young fruit seller. The Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine fled the country January 14th after ruling for 23 years.  Nobody had anticipated that his suicide would break down the dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and bring unrest to Syira, Jemen and Bahrain.

Mohammed, a simple young boy, work very hard to send his sisters to school and university earning only $5 a day. He was often forced to bribe the authorities more than he could earn to set up his handcart because they wouldn’t give him a permit.

Now, a picture of Bouazizi’s face has been set up to the mosaic tiled monument outside the municipal office where he earned his slap from a female worker when he went to complain about not being able to work as his income had been confiscated.

His friends and family remember him as a young man of simple taste, who had no time to follow football or music, and in time wanted to get married. His ambition was to buy the pickup truck for which he was saving, so he could drive to the market to buy his fruit, instead of having to walk.

His mother remembers how happy he was that morning and that he had never been suicidal, only frustrated over the town officials who would treat him unfair. “He would just sleep a few hours and go early to the market to push his handcart. When he had free time, he would stay with his family at home”, she said.

Outside Sidi Bouzid, where Mohammed used to live and work, about 12 miles along the main highway, there is a dirt road signposted for Sidi Salah. The cemetery is a little way beyond the village among some few trees and a line of ochre hills. Bouazizi’s grave is a grey concrete block with two pretty yellow bowls set in it, filled with water.

 

An Open Letter to Syrian President Bashar al Assad

Date: November 15th 2011

President Dr. Bashar al Assad                                                                                      

President Office

People’s Council of Syria

Damascus, Syria

His Excellency Dr. Bashar al Assad,

AFTQ wants to bring to your attention that since the start of the Syrian Revolution from 15th March 2011, the world is witnessing the worst crisis of human rights violations in Syria. Though the constitution provides many benefits and protections to the Syrian citizens but in reality the Syrians lived under the unwanted regulations of your regime. After the years of your father Hafez al Assad’s authoritarian regime which from the beginning had suppressed the rights and liberty of a normal citizen has the most affected from your rule of suppression.

Syria is now standing at the crossroads of revolution where the government’s legitimacy and Syrians freedom is at stake. When you Mr. President took oath on 17th July 2000 to rein this beautiful and cultural country which have always introduced this world with something great and of a prosperous nature the innocent people of Syria, your own people who have believed in you, trusted you, when you assumed office of this great nation Mr. President these were the people whom you are killing like insects have believed in you and respected you more than ex President Late Hafez al Assad who was also your father had ruled at barrel of gun but His Excellency it was you who came as the ray of hope to this nation who had suffered hard under your father’s rule and now wanted a true democratic political system under which they can practice their rights granting them a complete guarantee of fundamental tools to them.

A law which never differentiate between the same citizen of the same country no matter whether he / she belongs to any communal group or culture or religion, a framework where everyone is equal, where a true Syrian secularism would be portrayed and practiced as the true living reality in which you have always believed into and has regularly said in your interviews given to the international media.

It’s been almost 12 years of your rule but the promise which you have made with undersigned commitments remained unfulfilled at large. Mr. President when you talked about peace it means you have to be at the compromising acceptance with some or more of your strategized demands / requirements. A peace in true meaning is that when two parties agree and respect on the compromising manner in order to serve the purpose of peace which will only be possible if your government thinks in a more liberal and transparent way keeping in view of interests of the common man. Peace cannot exist if you dictate your terms Mr. President but if you agree to common terms to get both ends meet at the juncture of harmony.

His Excellency you sound great when you speak but you felt worse when you work for peace. Shooting your own people, killing the innocents, not even sparing the families of those who stand united against you is not in the person’s faith who believes in bringing peace to his country and to the region as a whole. When you talk about secularism it is good sign of optimism but Mr. President till your speeches have delivered only the words not the actions. When a Syrian President talks about his nation being secular it means Syria being a secular nation but in practice and in reality the air taste’s something un-usual and different.

Secularism doesn’t mean that one single party and a community will rule the country and others will be denied the basic access to the functioning. When we say that we are secular then that means members of all communities shares the equal rights and power to rule and govern the country however this has never been the case in Syria under yours and your fathers regime as when the new constitution in 1973 was adopted for Syria.

Article #1 under Basic Principals of Syrian Constitution states that:

(1)   The Syrian Arab Republic is a democratic, popular, socialist, and sovereign state.  No part of its territory can be ceded. Syria is a member of the Union of the Arab Republics.

(2)   The Syrian Arab region is a part of the Arab homeland.

(3)   The people in the Syrian Arab region are a part of the Arab nation. They work and struggle to achieve the Arab nation’s comprehensive unity.

Article #7 the constitutional oath is as follows:

“I swear by God the Almighty to sincerely preserve the republican, democratic, and popular system, respect the constitution and the laws, and watch over the interests of the people and the security of the homeland, and work and struggle for the realization of the Arab nation’s aims of unity, freedom, and socialism.”

Article # 8 betrays the concept of democracy

The leading party in the society and the state is the Socialist Arab Baath Party.  It leads a patriotic and progressive front seeking to unify the resources of the people’s masses and place them at the service of the Arab nation’s goals.

Article # 10 which guarantees the right to practice democracy

People’s councils are establishments elected in a democratic way at which the citizens exercise their rights in administering the state and leading the society.

But till now nothing as mentioned in the respected constitution has ever been felt even by an ordinary citizen of Syria, none of the rights given in the constitution has ever practiced except the power vested under article #8 which betrays all the liberties and access given to the citizens of Syria.

Since the adoption of this amended constitution and the start of your respected family’s regime the great nation of civilizations never lived its glory in the modern era where people enjoys freedom, liberty, fundamental rights and power of being empowered remained always a distant dream to all living under the shadow of your vicinity.

Mr. President when you talk about democracy you say because the word is mentioned in your adopted constitution it gives a different meaning to it while disputing the same with the real one. Mr. President when you talk about this power system of governance it means that you have to provide every citizen an equal opportunity to take part in the administration of the country where person from every community can share the power on equal grounds with your respective authority.

AFTQ believes that the vibrant and working democracy is that where every citizen takes part in the election process, where public opinion is always consider in terms of passing any regulation, any law, where even single amendment in the law or even in the constitution seek common man’s opinion. Where people chooses their own leader not the assigned council or which the body which has never enjoyed the legitimacy of its own people, a true democracy is that where all the government bodies and its functioning are accountable to the general public and where even an ordinary citizen enjoys full access to all the public accounts and internal communication.

One cannot say that Syria is a democratic country where the word is just like dust in the eyes of the world irked people always throughout the independent Syrian history. There has never been any moment in the entire Assad’s regime tenure when the nation of Syria ever seen  the overwhelming support and contribution in the process of nation building in which Syrians happily taken part and been encouraged to do so and as a single party regime and its governance cannot bring the democracy alive in its country while functioning as the opposite, a liberal and open democracy is where when in the country multi party political system exists competing to rule the country and representing different communities hence satisfying also the criteria of being secular whereas another article of the constitution article # 12 disputes the single party regime and your ruling authority:

Article # 12 which guarantees the Syrians protection of their fundamental rights:

The state is at the people’s service.  Its establishments seek to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens and develop their lives. It also seeks to support the political organizations in order to bring about self-development.

After getting to this article #12 it has been clear by now that since the time your family has came to power Syrians were living their lives in the false statehood which have always cheated them either by making new amendments in the constitution or by just giving betrayal worded speeches. The people you think raise their hands in support of your rule will betray one day just like your friend late Col Gaddafi was betrayed by his own people who first at the start of the rebellion shook their hands in the streets of Tripoli and then they fought against him as the tide turned in the favor of rebels.

Mr. President, we at the AFTQ would like to make you aware that you still have got time to improve yourself and clean your leadership’s image in the eyes of your entire Syrian population. It is the time when you can decide about you and your family’s fate either by stepping down from your posts or by paving the way to true democracy which is the current need and the desire of your own nation at large.

His Excellency you talk about your legitimacy but AFTQ wants to make you clear that you and your government has lost their legitimacy in the minds, hearts and eyes of the general public and when the government or a leader losses his legitimacy then he must take the positive nation building measures which the nation requires and demanding the most at present, as in your case people and the nation of Syria wants the working democracy and freedom to practice their fundamental rights where they can elect and decide their future of the country and make accountable their leaders.

AFTQ urge you to take the immediate positive building measures otherwise the day is not far when you even would not have a moment to apologize to your people and to your nation at large. The same which was done in Libya and the kind of treatment there the leaders received at the hands of their own people should be an eye opener for you and for your cabinet which too has proven with the recent developments made by the respected Arab league by expelling your great nation from the regional grouping which you Mr. President has always supported throughout now stand against you and your regime.

Instead of warning the entire league Mr. President you should have taken it as lesson and approaching tide which could uproot your entire governance and political entity with its flow like storm.

Now standing at the juncture of heightening revolution of the Arab Revolution Spring’s series here are few questions which put you on account to the crimes and atrocities done by you and your forces on the innocent people of Syria:

1.)    Do you think it is right to suppress the people who are demanding their rights to live freely in their country?

2.)    How can you justify the genocide committed by you and your regime in which your killing drive has claimed 3500 innocent lives and still counting?

3.)    Will you justify your measures of handling the Syrian Revolution?

4.)    Is this true that your government and your policies discriminate among the distinct citizens of your country?

5.)    How would you prove that your forces and your ministers did not commit any human rights violations?

6.)    Is this justified in any manner to deny the rights and freedom of the people?

7.)    Do you think being a democratic country the Alawi community loses its presence in the new democratic Syria?

8.)    Did you expect the same fate as of Late Col Gaddafi?

9.)    Is your government fair enough to run the country transparently?

The nation His Excellency builds on trust, on harmony not on murders, not on hatred. A true leader rules his country not by stick but by love, by coordination. You can silent the cries of your people not by bullets but by meeting their demands, by standing tall to their aspirations.  Fulfill your unfulfilled promises and transform yourself as democratic leader not the dictator.

AFTQ hope and wishes that after reading this and witnessing the circumstances of this Syrian Revolution you will not stop yourself from laying the path to democracy and will stop killing your people who once honored and believed in you as their leader.

Regards

Hatef Mokhtar

Founder and Chairman

Armed For The Quill

Oslo, Norway

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