Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

I am Abdillah Zamzuri, a 2013 Community Solutions Program (CSP) alumni, a program sponsored by the U.S Department of State and I am also the first Singaporean to be on this program.

As a fellow of the CSP working and developing a project on ‘Tolerance and Conflict Resolution’, I was attached to the University of California, Irvine (UCI), where I worked with a group of students who sought to bring peace on campus. The student organization, Students for Global Peacebuilding, had successfully organized the first ever Peace Week event in January 2014.

As President of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Country’, your continued silence for Israel’s onslaught and genocide of innocent civilian Palestinians in Gaza is unbecoming of a family man who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 

You and your governments’ cowardice to stand against your biggest lobby and economy contributor is not representative of a government that believes, propagates and advocates for democracy and human rights. You and your government, in fact, only believes, propagates and advocates for democracy and human rights for Israel and Israel only.

A man without a backbone to stand for what is right, is not a man at all. You, Mr President, is looking a lot to look like that man, a man who has been demasculinized. Be a man, do the right thing. You would resist if you were illegally occupied. You would resist if your family was being harassed physically and mentally. You would resist if you were not able to sleep in peace every night. If you wouldn’t resist, then I pray that your family will have the opportunity to have such an experience, so that you can learn to empathize with others.

I plead and urge you, to dig deep into your soul to take the right course of action by being a good friend of Israel and to take all necessary action required to stop the genocide, the same way your government have intervened in previous conflicts. Wouldn’t good friends do all they can to help if they see their friend committing a crime? Wouldn’t good friends be the check and balance for a friend that has overstepped the line?

Should this job and task be one that conflicts your moral values, then perhaps, you should step down from your Presidency or you will very well go down in history as the President Without Moral Guts, just like all the other World Leaders who have stood at the side to continue watching this ongoing genocide.

The world needs to have peace.

The wall needs to be brought down so that people living on both sides can begin to have dialogues, to learn about one another, to have an understanding of one another, to clear misunderstandings with one another, to build trust with one another and most importantly, to love one another.

If there’s one thing that I have learnt from the many sharing sessions organized by the U.S Department of State representatives speaking on Conflict Resolution, is that to resolve conflict, parties need to focus on commonalities.

In this conflict, PEACE is a commonality shared by the GLOBAL COMMUNITY.

In this conflict, GENOCIDE is a common word to describe the situation in Gaza.

In this conflict, WAR CRIME is a common word that has been used to describe what Israel is doing.

Yours Truly,

2013 Community Solutions Program Alumni

Letter to US President, Barack Hussein Obama

Dear President Obama,

As a concerned member of the United States Department of State fellow working on the theme of ‘Tolerance and Conflict Resolution’, I find much irony that your Department of State is giving out scholarships to individuals all over the world to work on several themes, of which one of them is where I’m involved in.

The theme of ‘Tolerance and Conflict Resolution’ clearly speaks to dear program fellows of the Community Solutions Program on how to resolve conflicts through peaceful means; negotiation and nonviolence.

Unfortunately, I am disappointed at how you have decided to react at the situation in Syria without having clear and absolute knowledge beyond any reasonable doubt on which party had used the chemical weapons. Instead, you have jumped to conclusions, based on intelligence which are not able to provide you clear facts and evidence on who had used such chemical weapons.

In doing so, you have took it upon yourself to defame the Syrian government, that they have indeed committed a crime when you yourself are unsure on the facts of the case. You have also solicited support from other world leaders to join you in your cause to defame the Syrian government of crimes that hasn’t been proven.

As a graduate of Harvard Law school, I’m sure you would be well aware that in prosecuting someone, you need to have full facts of the case and the case has to be proven that whoever is being presented to in court, is beyond any reasonable doubt, has indeed committed such a crime – this I learnt as a trainee and as a police officer serving for the Singapore Police Force.

I, therefore, urge you, to wait for the investigation results by the United Nations before you commit yourself into a war that you know, the catastrophe will be beyond anyone’s control.

Thereafter, should the UN investigation results prove beyond ANY REASONABLE DOUBT, that the Syrian government had indeed used chemical weapons, I hope you would then think about the innocent that will be affected from the bombs that you have no control over.

As President, who is overseeing the funding for the Department of State fellowship that I am on, working on the theme of ‘Tolerance and Conflict Resolution’, I would find it extremely pointless to be here then in the United States to be learning about peaceful methods of resolving conflict; negotiation and nonviolence, if the country who is sponsoring me to learn about this expects me to share what I have learnt from this experience to citizens of my home country on my return.

I believe that when I speak on this matter, I am also speaking on behalf of my other fellows, of which, one of them is from Aleppo.


Your bomb may just be the one to kill his someone he knows who happens to be in the vicinity.

I hope you will reconsider your decision to take up arms and instead seek more peaceful methods to resolve this conflict.


Abdillah Zamzuri
Program Fellow
Community Solutions Program
U.S Department of State