Sultan Pasha Al-Attrache’s reply to the letter signed by Captain Rhino which was sprinkled by the French airplanes in the aftermath of the battle of Adlieh near Damascus, Syria:
(Translated by Moutassem Abou-Hamdan)
The letter accuses us of not keeping our promise, saying that we surrendered to the foreign influence and accepted armed gangs in our area and cooperated with them in attacking Damascus. We do not allow any foreign influence of whatever kind to spread to our area because we seek independence. And seeking independence does not agree in any way with seeking foreign influence. And if any armed gangs happened to cross our region these would be the gangs of our cousins* who have heard of the shameful injustice that we have been subjected to by the likes of captain Carpiet and, as a result, hurried to our rescue. This is an Arab thousand year old tradition where they hustle to elevate injustice against their own. Concerning how the people of Damascus, who are the leading supporters of freedom, ridiculed us and abandoned us, this is the talk of the scoundrels who want to spread the seeds of division amongst members of the same family.
The letter accuses us of slowing down and stalling the agreements, an accusation that lacks evidence, those who know the conditions of the mountain and the roughness of its routes as well as the difficulty with communications, would realize the unfeasibility of making needed agreements swiftly. As for shooting airplanes, which is not an unforeseen incident, our children, who are passionate about shooting cannot restrain themselves whenever they see these deceitful machines that mocks and ridicules civilization by flying in the safe mountain sky. As for cursing the workers who came to bury the dead at the Mazraa battle field, that we do not know of, on the contrary, we are willing at all times to facilitate the burial of these poor souls that were lost for the sake of greedy colonialist ambitions. The letter also mentions sabotaging the phone lines between Bousra and Izrooaa and attacking Khorbat Ghazala’s station. Sabotaging the phone lines is not what’s bizarre rather it’s having these lines in a land that lacks authority and sovereignty. We did not order anyone to attack Khorbat Ghazala or any other place, if these incidents occurred, then the bandits that roam that land are to be blamed for it.
The letter also states that the state of France, known in history for its humanity, honor and mercy, is ready to pardon us. We absolutely reject the word pardon for we are seekers of justice and fairness. And those who requested at the beginning that the French employee, who everyone agrees is a representation of delinquency and misconduct both personally and publically, be fired and replaced by another French employee, are not the ones in need of a pardon; rather it’s those who caused the spill of innocent blood on the roads leading to Mazraa due to all the reckless advice they gave to General Saray. The letter went on to mentions its author’s wish to spare the blood of the people from both sides and question our benefits in pursuing this war?
We are people who value peace and detest war if it doesn’t have a justifiable honorable cause, like the one that pushed us to bear arms after we couldn’t take it anymore. We do not hesitate anymore to join hands with those who offer us their help after they admit and recognize our clear and legitimate rights that are mentioned in our publications. We have learned from previous experience that treaties and assurances are no more than pieces of paper that can be stepped over at any time, so are you really willing to offer us sufficient guarantees if we make a truce and sign the agreements that will ensure the well being of both parties?
We ask for such guarantees as part of the peace agreements, and as long as we have doubts it will not be easy to be reassured and establish mutual trust. We have to face the facts and try to come up with the right solution that will succeed in treating the issues that led to the current unfortunate situation.
All temporary solutions will end up failing; there must be a solid foundation that will, on one hand, completely satisfy the people of this land and on the other does not “harm” the republic. This is something achievable if it is governed by good intentions and unsuspicious guarantees.
* Means the force the came from Jordan that was led by Shiekh Hadietha Alkhriehsa.