To: President of the United States of America
From: Muslim Students Association National
Date: December 15, 2016
Dear President Barack Obama,
We are writing this letter to strongly urge your intervention in the violence in Aleppo, Idlib, and the rest of Syria.
We were invited to attend the White House gathering for youth leaders and activists on behalf of the National Muslim Students Association. We came to hear the experiences of Japanese internment camp survivors and to discuss the current situations of Muslims and Arabs in America. We are honored to participate in this event, but we cannot sit with the world’s most powerful individuals without bringing the voice of the Syrian people with us. Our hearts ache for our Syrian sisters and brothers.
Over the past days, we watched the people of Aleppo live-tweet their own deaths as world looked away from their pain. We are a generation that grew up watching Hotel Rwanda and hearing “Never Forget.” We promised ourselves that we would be the generation that cared, that we would learn from the mistakes of our ancestors, that we would speak up in the face of oppression. We have failed to do so thus far.
We cannot stop thinking of desecrated bodies: children’s corpses crushed by rubble, women gang-raped by Assad’s troops, young boys tortured by Assad’s secret police.
President Obama, we write to you, not just as seven young Americans looking to their nation’s leader, but also as young activists reaching out to a community organizer and a social justice activist from Chicago. We write to you as the first Black president in United States history. And most importantly, we write to you as the greatest inspiration to every little child of color in America.
You are the most powerful man on Earth.
Use your power to stop the atrocities in Aleppo. Allow the people of Aleppo a safe passageway out, a protected humanitarian corridor to exit the warzone. Impose a no-fly zone. Speak up and speak out. Address our nation and the world and strongly scold the actions of Assad, his troops and his allies. Then complement your words with bold action to save their lives.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
These are the words of our Declaration of Independence. These are the powerful words you uttered during your 2004 DNC Convention speech. These are the same words that we call each and every American to firmly hold onto, as advocates for our rights as a nation, for the oppressed everywhere, and today: for the people of Aleppo.
We understand that you have information we may not have, and you have a much deeper understanding of the complexity of the genocide in Syria. But we know that with any tipping of the scales by our President, the world will follow. What if our country tipped the scales?
Please act immediately.
You have the power. You represent our voices.
From seven young American Muslims,
Zeena Mubarak, Princeton University Princeton University Muslim Advocated for Social Justice and Individual Dignity
Nabeel Alauddin, The Ohio State University President, MSA-Ohio State
Majid Mubeen, The University of Pennsylvania Chair, Students Against Islamophobia and Discrimination
Nabintou Doumbia, Wayne State University MAS Youth Detroit, Youth Council
Mariam Doudi, University of Michigan Community Service Director, MSA-U of M
Khadega Mohammed, P-CEP High School Spoken Word Artist, Social Justice Advocate, P-CEP Muslim Student Association
Essma Bengabsia, New York University President, The Muslim Network