Syria: neither dictatorship nor sectarian divide

Barcelona Information and Solidarity Meeting
Wednesday, 27. September 2017 - 16:00 to Thursday, 28. September 2017 - 13:45
CIDOB, sala Jordi Maragall, Elisabets 12,08001 Barcelona
For over six years now, the Syrian population has been suffering a war of annihilation which has resulted in the largest international humanitarian crisis of the last 75 years. This appalling situation is the result of the armed repression unleashed by the regime of Bachar Al Asad during the spring of 2011 to crush the massive peaceful mobilizations demandeing democracy and civil rights, and the end of the police state and institutionalized corruption.

(Barcelona, September, 27th – 28th, 2017)

Since then, Syria has succumbed to the spiral of foreign interventionism and sectarian violence which underpins the regime as the “lesser evil” against Jihadism. This Conference aims to give voice to those in Syria who do not accept neither dictatorship nor confessionalism, those who believe that the principles of citizenship and self-determination, the respect of human rights (especially in the case of women and
children), political pluralism, and the social management of national resources, must be the foundations for the country's democratic reconstruction.

+/-80 seats. Addrressed to researchers, professors and students of Political Science, Law and History Faculties, etc.; professionals, volunteers and activists with presence or links in the Middle East, members of the Arab communities in Barcelona, and general public.

A variety of distinguished Syrian intellectuals, professionals and activists who have spoken out in favor of a transition to a free and democratic future for Syria.

Each session (1 to 7) will be divided in three parts: (a) an introduction by a moderator with in-depth knowledge of the specific topic (15-20m); b) a presentation of the chosen theme by the Syrian speaker/s (25-30min); and c) questions from the audience (15-20m). Session 7 (conclusions) will consist of a panel discussion with brief interventions by all the speakers and an open discussion with the audience. The main goal of this format is to maximize the critical understanding of the current situation in Syria based on the experiences provided by speakers and moderators and their interaction with the audience.

Afternoon (Wednesday, 27, September)

• Opening Session (16:00-16:30h.): Plenary session by Loles Oliván Hijós (Organising Committee, OC), Barcelona City Council and CIDOB : The solidarity commitment required by Syria

• Session 1 (16:30-17:30)
The nature of the Asad regime: regional functionality and internal dynamics.
Chairperson: Santiago Alba Rico (OC)
Speaker: Yassin al Haj Saleh

• Coffee break (17:30-17:45)

• Session 2 (17:45-18:45)
The Syrian revolution in the context of the Arab Spring: revolutionary outbreak, local committees and social activism.
Chairperson: Lurdes Vidal (IEMED)
Speaker: Roshak Ahmad and Karam Nachar

• Session 3 (18:45-19:45)
Repression, militarization and internationalization of the Syrian conflict (2011-2017).
Chairperson: Carlos Varea (OC)
Speakers: Aref Dalila

Morning (Thursday, 28, September)

• Session 4 (9:00-10:00)
A Gender perspective on the Syrian conflict and its humanitarian crisis
Chairperson: Representant from Barcelona City Council
Speakers: Leyla Shami and Laila Alodaat (video)

• Session 5 (10:00-11:00)
War and negotiation processes: What is the alternative for Syria?
Chairperson: Ignacio Gutiérrez de Terán (OC)
Spekers: Iyad Al Abd Allah and Yassin Al Haj Saleh

• Session 6 (11:15-12:15)
Post conflict Reconstruction
Chairperson: Eduard Soler (CIDOB)
Speaker: Yassin Swehat and Musallam Abed Talas

• Session 7 - Conclusions (12:15-13:45h.)
Syria: a future with neither dictatorship nor sectarian divide
Dialogue between speakers and audience.
Chairperson: Luz Gómez García (OC) and a representant of Barcelona City Council

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: Santiago Alba, Luz Gómez García, Iñaki Gutiérrez de Terán, Loles Oliván Hijós, Naomí Ramírez, Itziar Ruiz Jiménez, Carlos Varea; por parte de CIDOB: Anna Estrada y Eduard Soler; por parte del Ayuntamiento de Barcelona: Dirección de Justicia Global y Cooperación Internacional - David Listar, Jordi Cortés, Gloria Meler y David Gervilla.

Aref Dalila: Syrian economist and opponent to the Al Assad regime, he was very active during the "Damascus Spring" (2000-2001). He tried to appease sectarian tensions in Latakia and was part of the National Coordination Committee for Change in Syria. He lives in the UAE.

Iyad al Abd Allah: Syrian writer and philosopher repressed by Al Assad regime for his critical writing on Bashar al-Assad. After an interrogation and incursion into his home in Damascus he fled to Lebanon. There the French Embassy assisted him to travel to France, where he was hosted by La Maison des Journalistes.

Karam Nachar: Syrian exiliate in Istambul. He is well known in the circles of the political opposition and the Syrian elites and an active writer on several social-political issues. He is also a member of the Al Jumhuriya team.

Leila Shami: Syrian-British activist who works since 2000 on issues related to human rights and social justice in Syria and other countries in the Middle East. She is one of the founding members of Tahrir-ICN, a network that connects the anti-authoritarian struggles in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. With Robin Yassin-Kassab she has published in Spanish País en llamas (2017), devoted to grassroot and
collective organization in areas beyond the control of the regime.

Laila Alodaat: Human Rights and Women's Rights activist. She has documented the violence against women in the prisons of the Syrian regime. Member of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. He is based currently in London.

Musallam Abed Talas: Syrian-Kurdish, Doctor of Economics at the University of Aleppo. He lives since 2013 in Turkey, where he teaches at the University of Mardin Artuklu.

Roshak Ahmad: Syrian-Kurdish journalist and documentalist currently based in Germany as a refugee. She holds a Master's degree in digital journalism at the Hamburg Media School. Between 2011 and 2014 she reported the popular uprising in Syria under a pseudonym in various Syrian oppositio and international media outlets.

Yassin al Haj Saleh: Syrian intellectual and historical opponent to the Syrian regime. He spent 16 years in the Syrian prisons. It is a benchmark of the Syrian community in Istanbul, where he lives. He coordinates debates and activities to promote the Syrian-Turkish and Syrian-European dialogue, especially through the activities carried out in Hamish. He has published in Spanish Diario del asedio a Duma, 2013, by Samira Khalil.

Yassin Shewat: Syrian activist with Spanish nationality. Exiled in Istanbul and a founding member of Al Jumhuriya.

Further details in Spanish: