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 Is writing a letter to the US President effective? 

 Analysis — Opinion
  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


Is writing a letter to the US President effective?  14.1.2011  
By Kurdistan Commentary

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January 14, 2011

A group of exiled Kurdish intellectuals sent a letter to US President Barack Obama in which they discuss the struggles of the Kurdish people, the denial of Kurdish culture and identity, and the importance of mother-tongue education.

I didn’t feel the impact of the letter. It left me with a feeling of uncertainty …wondering exactly what point they were trying to make to President Obama. Uninspiring, really. And this is surprising given that the letter was penned by some talented writers. Was something lost in translation?

According to the White House Director of Office Correspondence, Mike Kelleher, 65,000 letters arrive at the White House every week. They also receive 100,000 e-mails, 1,000 faxes and approximately 3,000 phone calls every day.             

Is writing a letter to the US President effective? Photo: The Official White House Photo stream
From all of this correspondence ten messages are selected to be placed in President Obama’s briefing book each weeknight to give the president a sampling of what Americans are thinking. Kelleher says that the president reads these letters because for him it is a direct relationship with his constituents.

So the chances of the President of the United States seeing your letter are slim. Probably non-existent if the letter comes from a non-US citizen abroad, regardless of how important the issue may be. Watch this video about writing letters to Obama:

Back in July I saw another Kurdish letter to President Obama that was published online. This one was from Dr. Kamal Artin [], president of the Kurdish National Congress of North America. I have no idea how many letters Mr Obama receives about the Kurds. But what I do know is that to be more effective, these letters should come from Kurdish-Americans who are the constituents that form the ‘direct relationship’ that Kelleher mentioned.

As such, I would urge the Kurdish-American youth in the United States to become more active in speaking up about Kurdish issues. You don’t have to write to the president to be effective. You can write to your congressional representatives—senators or house reps. You can invite them to Kurdish events. Volunteer to be part of their campaigns. Political and civic activism is not that hard. Time consuming, yes; but not difficult.

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  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


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