Your Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania,
Jumana Salti and I grew up together. We played together on our school’s soccer, basketball, and volleyball teams, and we shared the unbreakable bond of teammates ever since, until her untimely death on Friday, November 6th. My heart aches. Jumana’s spirit, her generosity, her playfulness and her goodness will live on, but she is gone. I have been trying to write a tribute, honoring Jumana’s life. But I can’t because I need closure. Her friends need closure, her family needs closure and most importantly the citizens of your country need closure. And it is for that reason I am writing you.
Like so many people who knew Jumana and Soraya Salti, I believe from the bottom of my heart that they did not commit suicide. This is not denial or wishful thinking; it is a tragedy no matter how it happened, and nothing will bring them back. But there is a glaring lack of concrete evidence – or even any indicators – that either sister struggled with suicidal ideation or depression. Even if they did, violent suicides (such as jumping off of a building) are much more commonly associated with men than with women. And sibling suicides? Incredibly rare, even more so for siblings of their ages. There is a lack of convincing forensic evidence to support the suicide story (both sisters landed on their backs, hands over their hearts after a 3-story fall, with no blood splatter?). Instead, the media has delivered a frankly implausible story, one that is too neatly packaged (suicide note, two eyewitnesses, and a text message) but leaves too many questions unanswered, and seems to presume a complacent, gullible citizenry. I am one of thousands who feel that the truth is purposefully being kept from us. This feels like a cover-up of epic proportions, and I am asking for your help in finding out what really happened to Jumana and Soraya.
Jumana and Soraya were model citizens. They are your citizens, they are daughters of Jordan. They represented Jordan in ways no one else has. They opened doors for female athletes, activists and entrepreneurs. You cannot be an advocate for education, gender equality and youth and let Soraya’s death go unanswered. She represented and worked tirelessly for all those things.
President Obama mentioned her in a speech saying “We have people like Soraya Salti of Jordan who are empowering the young men and women who will be leaders of tomorrow.” How many Jordanians get mentioned in a speech by the President of the United States? Leaders are supposed to protect their citizens, even more so in their home country.
There is a heavy cloud over Jordan. Your citizens are scared, and they want answers. How could the deaths of two prominent Jordanians be deemed a suicide (without actual evidence), and without a thorough investigation? If that can happen to them, what can happen to the rest? No one dares speak out, no one questions.
For the last 7 days, there has not been a word. I keep waiting and hoping that you will do what is right for Jordan. That you will help to reveal the truth and justice will be served. That those who committed this atrocity will be held accountable
Earlier this year when First Lieutenant Muadh al-Kasasbeh was murdered by ISIS, you showed true leadership. You went after those that dared harm one of your citizens, one of your sons. You put on your military suit, and led the charge. Today I am begging for that same leadership. Jumana and Soraya were murdered on your home soil. I am begging you to find out who would dare do this to our beloved Soraya and Jumana, and to go after them. Not doing this will do irreparable harm to the trust that your citizens have in you and put others in danger if there are no repercussions.