Arab Intellectuals Seminar Discusses Syrian Crisis
With the participation of representatives from writers guilds in Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, the Jordanian Popular Committee for Supporting the Syrian People, and Arab writers, intellectuals and researchers, the “Arab Intellectuals and the Syrian Crisis: Ideas and Solutions” seminar kicked off on Tuesday at al-Assad National Library.
In a speech during the opening of the two-day seminar, which is organized by the Arab Writers Union, Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi affirmed that Syria is facing the most vicious war employing misdirection and the worst possible methods.
Al-Zoubi stressed that the events in Syria should be an issue of concern to all Arab intellectuals and nationalist, leftist and progressive forces, partly because they raise justified concern over the misdirection attempts to tarnish the image of the Syrian state, government and army.
He said that the conspiracy against Syria caused some to drift away and fall into a trap following slogans of freedom, democracy and revolution, noting that these three concepts have always been and always will be at the essence of Syrian nationalist, humane and moral beliefs.
Al-Zoubi went on to note that what happened in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen set the stage for the attack on Syria through demonizing the government and making accusations, stressing that the conspiracy against Syria was prompted by its policy which has remained firm for decades and its refusal to be subjugated by pressure.
“Syria, which you knew, believed in and fought alongside, and remained with at the heart of the battle and on its frontlines and advanced lines, will emerge from the talons of the conspiracy stronger than it was and it will treat its wounds and deal with the repercussions of what happened and what is happening thanks to the awareness of its people, the resilience of its leadership, the strength of its army, and the Arabism of its people,” he said.
The Minister also affirmed that Syria will continue the comprehensive reform programs, noting that the Syrian government had called for dialogue since the beginning of the events without excluding anyone.
He pointed out that events proved that the majority of Syrians rallied around the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad and around the state, including parts of the opposition which engaged in dialogue, leading some of its members to become part of the current government.
Al-Zoubi went on to underline the direct and open Arab conspiring against Syria, affirming that the government of Erdogan is neck deep in exporting terrorism to Syria which contradicts all international counter-terrorism agreements, which makes Erdogan and his government a true threat to national and international security.
He reiterated Syria’s commitment to Kofi Annan’s plan and its welcoming of the new UN Envoy Lakhdar Ibrahimi, stressing that confronting terrorism in Syria is the responsibility of the state and its armed forces, adding that fighting terrorism has nothing to do with launching dialogue, as dialogue should be held among Syrians, not with Libyans, Tunisians, Afghans and Gulf terrorists who came bearing arms and death to Syria.
The Minister concluded his speech by affirming that the reformative national project in Syria as announced by President al-Assad is final and irrevocable, and that it will go on because it fulfills the interests of the country and the people, stressing that Syria will not negotiate over Palestine and the Golan and will remain adherent to its nationalist and patriotic choices.
In turn, member of the Regional Leadership of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party Dr. Haitham Sataihi said that there has been much inaccurate and faulty analysis of the crisis in Syria do to misdirection, which is why this seminar aims to have intellectuals analyze the crisis directly in a realistic way to produce results, ideas and visions.
Sataihi pointed out that the current crisis is unlike anything that ever happened in Syria’s history, as previous conspiracies were well-defined and obvious, led by western forces that sought to isolate Syria and attack it.
He noted that there’s no ready formula to emerge from the crisis, stressing that one of the fallacies that are being made was the belief that what is happening in Syria is due to slogans that are in essence righteous but are used for evil.
Sataihi said that it’s wrong to believe that the forces and countries that spend money and resources to support militants and terrorists want what is best for Syria, adding that many of those who promote Arab and international initiatives are in fact deceivers.
He stressed that Syrian blood must not be shed, affirming that Syria is capable of overcoming the crisis and defeating the conspiracy, and that it will remain faithful to its principles thanks to the cohesion of its people and army.
For his part, member of the Tunisian Popular Committee for Resisting the Zionist Project, Ahmad al-Kahlawi, said that Arab intellectuals who are committed to the nation’s causes support Syria in the face of the conspiracy which they managed to reveal and uncover those involved in them, from the Istanbul Council which calls for foreign intervention up to governments that finance the conspiracy and support terrorists.
Al-Kahlawi affirmed that Arab intellectuals refuse to allow Arab youths to become fuel for achieving the goals of the US and protecting Israel, underlining the role of intellectuals in defending the nation’s causes and rallying the people to confront crises.
He concluded by saying that Syria’s resilience in the face of the conspiracy promises a new Arab and international status quo that should change the nature of the struggle against US imperialism and Zionism and defeat them.
In a similar speech, chairman of the Arab Writers Union Dr. Hussein Juma’a said that Syria has been facing a complex and composite conspiracy for more than a year and a half, causing Syria’s civilized model of tolerance, amity and coexistence to be threatened by people deceived by media clamor and calls for hatred and malice.
Juma’a stressed that diversity constitutes wealth and strength, while dissent, division and intolerance constitute deviation, weakness and ignorance.
He noted that intellectuals participating in the seminar hail from many countries known for Arabism and valor to stand alongside Syria and call for resorting to reason and wisdom, concluding by calling for presenting visions and solutions to the current crisis and studying the internal and external causes of the crisis to learn from them and overcome them.
The seminar will discuss a number of issues, including “the sanctity of Syrian blood, dialogue is the basis of any solution among Syrians,” “social fabric and national unity,” “preserving the state, its establishments and its structure and improving it,” “democracy and media”, “the army: shield of country and nation” and “rejecting all forms of foreign interference.”
Participants in Seminar Stress Sanctity of Syrian Blood, Need for National Dialogue and Supporting Syrian Arab Army
Later, participants in the seminar affirmed the sanctity of the Syrian blood, the need for national dialogue encompassing the entire Syrian society, preserving citizens’ dignity, adopting partnership without excluding anyone, supporting the Syrian Arab Army in its battle against terrorism, and rejecting foreign interference.
They also called for preserving achievements, adhering to tolerance and the homeland, and accepting others and respecting differences of opinions.
Chairman of the Syrian Journalists Union, Elias Murad, said that Syria has always protected Arabs and defended Arab rights even in the most difficult circumstances.
He said that most Syrians realized from the beginning that the crisis can only be solved by dialogue to avoid destruction of bloodshed, and that calls for dialogue persist despite the voices who demand foreign interference in clear disregard for Syria’s interests.
Murad noted that the dimensions of the conspiracy have become clear over time, revealing that what is happening isn’t about reforms, freedom and demands, because each act of reform was met with bloodshed and incitement while other reneged on dialogue at the beck of foreign forces.
He pointed out that the Syrian leadership was well aware of the dimensions of the conspiracy and took steps in terms of amending laws and legislations and calling for dialogue to avoid bloodshed, stressing that the change and rebuilding process is complex and needs time.
In turn, Assistant Regional Secretary of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party in Yemen, Mohammad al-Zubairi, said that Syria is facing a conspiracy which started with a political and media war then moved to arming and training terrorists and imposing economic sanctions to weaken Syria and subjugate it, adding that Syrians’ awareness of the conspiracy will foil it and that the solution lies in comprehensive dialogue between the government and the opposition and in continuing reforms.
For his part, Secretary General of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, Khaled Abdelmajid, said that some Arab and Syrian intellectuals still have vague and hesitant positions regarding the crisis that failed to rise up to the occasion and development.
Other participants in the session said that the conspiracy seeks to divide Syria on ethnic and sectarian basis in order to destroy it, stressing that Arab countries can only be strong by ending the state of subordination to other forces.
They said that the failure of foreign agendas betting on the collapse of Syria prompted some Arab and western countries to resort to violence and terrorism to destroy it, adding that any attack on Syria will end the region and begin a battle without limits.
The participants stressed that dialogue is a social compact establishing basis for a civil country guaranteeing full citizenship for all individuals and realizing state secularity, separation of authorities, and guaranteeing freedom of belief.
Need for Consolidating Citizenship in Syria
Talks during the seminar discussed the social fabric and its role in achieving national unity, with the member of the executive office at the Arab Writers Union, Ghassan Kamel Wannous, stressing that the current situation in Syria is the result of fact that some regional and international parties have exploited the presence of economic and social problems to influence the poorest category of the society.
Writer Colette Khoury affirmed that citizenship is the prevailing criterion in Syria as there is no place for terms such as majority or minority, indicating that the high national sense has helped preserving the stability and independence of the country.
The participants highlighted the need for consolidating the idea of citizenship through political and party pluralism, denying the spread of sectarian sedition in Syria as the Syrian are concerned mainly for their homeland before thinking of their beliefs and faith.
Suggestions to Form Committees for Protecting Syrian Institutions
The seminar focused on means of protecting and preserving the state’s institutions and overcoming the obstacles facing some of these institutions.
Some of the participants called for forming a higher committee for reconciliation and forgiveness on the level of the country with sub-committees in the provinces and areas.
They also suggested forming a higher popular committee for defending the homeland and protecting the achievements of the Syrian people also on the country’s level, which is to be followed by sub-committees on the level of the cities, towns, areas and even private and public buildings and institutions.
The goal of these suggestions, said the participants, is the preservation of the Syrian state and institutions, particularly the Syrian Arab Army, and the stress on the rejection of all forms of foreign interference.
Hala Sleiman al-Asaad, member of the General Secretariat at the Arab National Congress, member of the Arab Center for Documenting War Crimes and Legal Prosecution, called for spreading the legal, developmental, educational and religious culture to be a guarantor of morals and drawing out and applying strategies to preserve the state.