Aref Dalileh released

Posted by Alex

Syrian economist and highly respected reformer Aref Dalileh who has been serving a 10 years sentence in jail since 2001 has been released following a presidential pardon.

افرجت السلطات السورية اليوم الخميس "بموجب عفو رئاسي" عن المعارض عارف دليلة المعتقل منذ سبع سنوات حسب ما ذكر رئيس المنظمة الوطنية لحقوق الانسان عمار القربي لوكالة فرانس برس.

Dalileh's lawyer Mohhamad Alhosny told Reuters Aref Dalileh is now with his family at their home in Latakia.

First reaction from my friend Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy:

“He was one of the most inspirational people I met on that first trip to Damascus – I absolutely loved talking to him even though I usually hate economy and talking about it.”

 

Comments (175)


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151. Qifa Nabki said:

Enlightened,

I’ll be in Lebanon for several months, beginning in September. You should visit.

😉

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August 10th, 2008, 2:32 am

 

152. Majhool said:

Dear OTW,

Your words have brought joy to my day. I salute your objectivity and intellectual honesty; you have raised the bar for the rest of us.

I stand in support for most of what you said. But there are some technical difficulties that I want to share with you

• Original posts are part of the problem. The selection of content, wording, and even authors is carefully made to present ONE point of view. From one-side Economic news, to lack of Opposition perspective, to selection of mostly regime supporters or soft critiques to write there. All this challenge my neutrality and push me into attempts to achieve balance. Maybe this is something for Joshua to consider. Because this imbalance results in much energy on my part and others being spent to achieve balance especially for foreign readership.
• Correcting this imbalance is usually faced with orchestrated and relentless ridicule from few individuals (the defenders) that go unchallenged unless I scream “help” this needs to stop. Alex has been forthcoming in correcting this. Thank you Alex

I think addressing these issues will help this forum be a better one. Any thoughts?

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August 10th, 2008, 2:45 am

 

153. Enlightened said:

Ya raht!

Sue is due in November, but we are planning a trip in summer 2010, taking in Syria (to visit her cousins there) and possibly Turkey as well. Hopefully if there is a peace i might do a three day trip and visit Shai as well.

The finances do not allow a trip this year, as we have spent up plenty on a investment.

Enjoy your trip and keep us posted on what is happening on the ground, my cousin just came back after spending two years there, and wasting a lot of money- he didn’t paint a rosy picture economically or socially!

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August 10th, 2008, 2:46 am

 

154. norman said:

Zenobia, ( My friend ),if i may say that,

I am a doctor ( scientist ) and I believe in GOD and I believe in evolution , would i fight and argue if somebody does not agree with me , NO, NO , God can defend himself , there are a lot more important things in life than argue something nobody can prove or disprove .

I am an oncologist and i can have two patients with same disease and stage , i would give both the same treatment , one will live more than two years while the other will die within three month ,

GOD must have something to do with this , at least i believe so.

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August 10th, 2008, 2:47 am

 

155. norman said:

OTW ,

I do not think you went to school in Syria , In Syria we studied religion at school Christians study Christianity and Muslims study Islam , we learned creatism there then we we went to science class and learned evolution, in the tests we answered according to subject , in science we believed in evolution and in religion we believed in creatism , everybody was happy and we had good grades in both.

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August 10th, 2008, 2:55 am

 

156. Off the Wall said:

NORMAN

First, I was very tempted to ask you if you are an oncologist after seeing the (business) conversation between you and Alex, I thought you must be an Oncologist for Alex to be that scared of giving you his business.

I did go to school in Syria and I attended the Islamic religion classes and exactly as you experienced aced both Religion and Biology in the final HS exam. And this is precisely my Idea. These religion classes are the place for discussing creationism, its intellectual ground, and its ramification on spiritual matters. I am all for that. And I can see and respect that the two can be reconciled at personal level and your experience with your patients is an excellent way of describing how faith works. My argument was that creationism is based on faith, and as a scientist hailing from a field that has in fact pushed all other sciences including the notorious hypothesis testing tools, you know that faith can not be tested with the same tools. Let us leave science classes for scientific methods, for we need a generation well equipped with those methods to survive the competition, and let us discuss issues of faith in their proper place where their spiritual value is best realized. I try to use the Jesuit’s approach to base such recommendation on.

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August 10th, 2008, 3:43 am

 

157. norman said:

OTW,
You are a smart person , I agree , faith is not science and can be proven the same way.

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August 10th, 2008, 3:57 am

 

158. Off the Wall said:

Dear MAJHOOL

I wish you are next to me to share with me a glass of California Wine and to toast SC and all of its community (Merlot).

Thank you for the very kind words. I have noticed the validity of your technical concerns. But the way I approach it is from a slightly different perspective, and I would like to ask your opinion on that.

This site has an owner. While it is a site enjoyed by the community, and for many of us has become a necessary daily pilgrimage, the owner and operators (i.e., Moderators) do have the right to set its editorial policies, and we should expect that the original posts, which I would call (seed articles) would reflect their point of view and their way of seeing things.

Yet, being a forum, I must say that it has been one of the most free forums i have seen, especially on contentious issues such as those we discuss here. How to address the deficiency you described. There are several ways, and I think we all are doing a pretty good job addressing that by letting our conversations branch into details, go on tangential areas, and carry on with the discourse without limitations except when the site rules are being violated. A second way is to ask for volunteers to write the seed article every once in a while, but I think we have a site like that in CreativeSyria, although the frequency of seed topics ideas is a little slow. For now we can ask Alex, Qifa, and most importantly Joshua to consider that, but whatever their decision, I am willing to accept. Again, it is an ownership issue.

In the past few weeks, and especially on Saturdays (Sabbath for our Friend Shai), I have been probably acting as a self appointed “must respond to everything” guy :). This has allowed me to recognize how hard it is to moderate a site like this. The posts are nothing like the standard one liners smart-ass posts common on many other sites. And even if Alex or Qifa do not read or scan the entire posts the way a censorship guy does, it does take time and efforts.

I do not want to go OPRAH or Dr. Phil on you here, but Ridicule is a standard response, we do that when we are angry and when we feel that our point is not receiving the attention it deserves. I can tell you my response, a little dose of self deprecation is a healthy way to calm down, and most importantly, to disarm your tormentors.

I am as eager as always to hear your point of view on this

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August 10th, 2008, 4:10 am

 

159. Shai said:

Enlightened,

Peace or no peace, you invited in my home 24/7/365! It would be my greatest honor and pleasure to host you and show you around.

OTW,

Since I see there’s yet another thing we seem to think alike on (Philosophy), have you read the book “Proofs and Refutations” by Imre Lakatos? If not, it’s a must! He’s a Hungarian Jew who writes as if talking to his students in class. Very enjoyable, and of course supports the notion of advance in (anything really) by continuos searching for refutations, rather than reinforcements.

We should be aware, though, of the fact that this against human nature. Most are always looking for reinforcements to their hypotheses, not understanding that such a thing is not possible. As a mathematician, this is one of the reasons I never liked Statistics… 🙂 It gives people a wrong sense of comfort… rather than cause them to search for refutations.

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August 10th, 2008, 4:30 am

 

160. Off the Wall said:

Alex Habibi and Habib aljamaheer (alghafoura)

Did you receive my email?

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August 10th, 2008, 4:55 am

 

161. Majhool said:

DEAR OTW,

Thank you, I opened up a vintage merlot bottlt (1994) in appreciation to your gesture.

I respect the ownership, but let me remind you that much of the creditability of SC relies on the freedom of the forum. Imagine if much of the forum discussions were about how great the original posts (seeds) and were like: ” super”, “another good deed by Bashar” “ oh how great it is to be Syrian” “Syria’s education is great” etc…it would be a great loss to SC and its creditability.

I agree with your suggestions, I preferred Creative Syria because it allowed different views to be represented. Great critics such as my friend Abu Kareem used to write there as well, I think the current structure of SC frustrated and pushed away people like him.

From my own experience in publishing on the internet, I found out that the best way to spark a healthy discussion was to compare and contrast opposing viewpoints. Commentators did not feel the urge to ridicule anything and instead engaged in discussions right from the center.

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August 10th, 2008, 5:04 am

 

162. Off the Wall said:

SHAI

What a delight

Thanks for the book hint. I will head to nearest Boarders book tomorrow and get it. I love the class lecture writing style and I will read the book.

The search for refutation is the core of scientific methods. So many papers I read in respectable journals reek of search for confirmation and the authors somehow go in lengthy, and sometimes tortured arguments to show that 0.4 correlation coefficient is good enough. I have returned quite few papers in review asking for the CI around the correlation coefficient as the minimal test not just the CI about model estimates.

The fact that search for refutation is against human nature is probably why it is avoided. Some of our Center’s incoming Ph.D students look puzzled when I meet with them the first time and tell them that their job is not to prove their method, but failing to reject it with the most rigorous tests they can imagine, would indicate its probable validity, for now. I find it disheartening that a course on the philosophy of science is not mandatory for every graduate student. They are taught advanced mathematics and advanced statistics, and trained to use these tools in search of proof. But it is rather common, especially in engineering graduate programs where the focus is on application and on design. I think such a course would make adequate experimental design a second nature to these young scientists. The problem gets harder for earth sciences (my field) where the system is so complex that it is not observable or quantifiable at the process scale. We turn to regression, as well as to conceptual models. And in that case, I believe that ANN is as good as any model, because the search for proof of (match) is done a little more objectively and without interference from someone looking for the proof.

So you are a mathematician.

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August 10th, 2008, 5:20 am

 

163. Zenobia said:

Norman,

god and evolution, ok. But creationism is still problematic. there is science to show how long the earth took to be “created”…evolved, and that goes for human kind too. Maybe god created evolution, i don’t know. but the stories of the old testament should not be taken literally.
I have this uncle that once was telling me about Abraham etc., and he says something about him living 900 years. I look blankly. Then my uncle in perfect seriousness tells me that people lived a long time back then. (!)

I mean faith is something that has nothing to do with science. but it is a subjective characteristic of human thought and feeling, even love. Is it reducible to a brain function? No, although a feeling can be represented in brain scan by some activity we can monitor. Weird huh.
Does that mean a feeling or a belief IS the thing on the scan? Of course it is not.

Religion to me- is the world of emotional life of human beings, perhaps in relation with some higher being or perhaps only to our imagination of a higher being.
But even if I believed this being to be ‘real’ and exist outside of my thought of him/her, I would not explain events and the concrete earth by attributing it to the being.
At least not in the way my uncle did. Human beings never lived 900 hundred years. Ever. I think this is a scientific fact that cannot coexist with a belief in a story, as in a document of facts. Stories can have ‘truth’ that is not about literal interpretations that simply contradict completely scientific possibilities.

Why is it possible for the two seemingly identical patients not to survive the same amount of time?
We simply do not know. We cannot account for every single variable of life. This doesn’t mean a supra being intervened.
One thing that has been documented is that emotions of patients, their optimism or lack of, their depression or lack of it, actually impacts their survival.
How is this explained? We have theories. Emotions affect stress hormones that affect the immune system. We already know that, but not at all completely.

How is it that a husband and wife who have been married for forty or fifty years and are so entirely bonded with each other will often die with six months to two years of each other?

What about the stories of placing one stable infant inside the incubator of another infant whose life is failing and finding that the failing infant starts to revive as its heart beat comes into tune with the healthy baby.
What is this phenomenon? Do we know how this happens?

There is some scientific explanation, but we may not be able to discern it within our current understanding of human functioning. But this doesn’t mean god’s hand is in it.

If it did involve god, I would certainly wonder: why is god so arbitrary?

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August 10th, 2008, 5:21 am

 

164. norman said:

OTW ,

you are a university professor aren’t you , and have been in the US for a long time , i think i can tell from the way you approach things.

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August 10th, 2008, 5:32 am

 

165. Off the Wall said:

MAJHOOL
Cheers, and thanks for the kind response.

From my own experience in publishing on the internet, I found out that the best way to spark a healthy discussion was to compare and contrast opposing viewpoints. Commentators did not feel the urge to ridicule anything and instead engaged in discussions right from the center.

You hit it right on. Fully agree. It sounds like an excellent start. And I see where I overlooked a key point in your concern, which is the efficiency where we can jump right into debating ideas. Is that doable?

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August 10th, 2008, 5:34 am

 

166. Off the Wall said:

NORMAN

Right on, Keen and smart, I am Adjunct Professor, not on tenure track, 1/3 teaching and 2/3 research. Gives me more flexibility,and puts a lot of pressure in the area of proposal writing as I have to come up with a sizable portion of my salary. But I love and enjoy teaching.

Yes I have been here since 1985. Long time isn’t it. I guess you also have been here for a while, no?

BTW, why do they call you with such an affectionate prefix Ammo, i get a little jealous 🙂

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August 10th, 2008, 5:40 am

 

167. norman said:

OTW ,

I have been here since 1980 , i got off the plane at JFK July 25th,

I studied English at university of Miami in Florida actually that is for you Shai , My room made was Jewish and he was an electrical engineer doing master in biomedical engineering ,

I was going to tell you that they call me Ammo because I am their rich uncle , the truth is probably because they know my age .

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August 10th, 2008, 6:00 am

 

168. norman said:

Zenobia,

I still believe in GOD , and that brings comfort to me , You know i rarely and actually only few time in my life that i went to church , I do not think that i need to go to church to be a believer , I grew up in a place where there was no churches.

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August 10th, 2008, 6:04 am

 

169. Shai said:

OTW,

I studied Mathematics and also History, but today I’m more of a businessman… Most of my work is on the internet. I think if I was living in the States, there’s a very good chance I’d be in academia, as the salaries are quite reasonable (relatively speaking, to Israel). But here, as is the case in many countries, it’s just not serious enough to enable one to save money for a reasonable retirement. So I had to make a decision early on, and I chose the business world… I miss the academic world very much, but at least I keep reading, and maintain a good circle of friends who are still in academia. Maybe one day I’ll go back, in’shalla.

Norman,

Some of my best Arab friends were made in college, in the mid-80’s. These were some of the best years of my life. Learned more than I ever could, had I stayed my whole life in Israel. Perhaps we’ll do something similar with our girls. If at all possible, I think studying or growing up part of the time abroad is a life-shaping experience.

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August 10th, 2008, 6:44 am

 

170. Zenobia said:

Shai, so are you the guy making the electric cars?

: )

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August 10th, 2008, 7:32 am

 

171. Shai said:

Zenobia,

Ah… that be nope. I’m not that smart. But I am younger, and better looking, than that Shai Agassi guy. But I am jealous of him. At the age of 34, he was already a President in SAP AG – a small software company… 🙂 And an owner of a few very successful startups.

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August 10th, 2008, 8:17 am

 

172. Zenobia said:

better looking!
i just checked out a video of him that was on his blog, and he is pretty handsome.
you must be stunning…. : )

i don’t think you are younger either. ok, one year… ! that’s not much to go on.

well, i was going to be shocked if you said yes. You should be jealous! That guy isn’t probably worried about his retirement now.

but i thought it was funny, cause you are almost the exact same age, and both work in tech, and he was giving testimony in the US at around the time – you were on “vacation” in the US…. so… i don’t know…it all fit together. Except … not.
: )

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August 10th, 2008, 8:28 am

 

173. Shai said:

Zenobia,

I’m sorry… it almost fit… 🙂

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August 10th, 2008, 10:20 am

 

174. trustquest said:

Majhool, thanks for the kind words,
You said: “but I should keep hammering the system because exposing it is in my view one of the way to influence it.”
Of course, you should be, my goodness all sincere people duty is to do that. There is no question that the system failed big time and this by the admition of the regime itself and by its leaders, otherwise why this new direction in open market and all this talk about change. The deference I think, it is about how far to push and when, ask Ehsani for that.

Looking on the positive aspects of the regime from some on this blog is in a way like the cheering fans encouraging their athlete to do more. But also being a coach to a boxer telling him where to hit is also a positive role. In real world, smart corporate leader hired people to criticize their product to get the best results. My theory is all works, things will advance by the influence of all these types.
And I second OTW that this forum belongs to its owner and up to him to put the rule and make changes.

Asking both sides to leave their trenches is something I don’t think it is beneficial, because it is part of the System which we are trying to get rid of. Understanding that if we set on the edges of the trench and discuss mater in civilized way and also keep our difference is much better way we should dream of.

All these positive spins are kind of light humor, what positive spin you can put on dictatorship who witnessed the same similar neighboring castle crumbled down and now struggling to keep up standing, should notion at least it should put a little smile on your face. On the next page for example, Norman said to Georgians recent fighting: “They are fools either way. you can not fight a supper power , Iraq proved that and they should have learned. “ Which I completely agree with.
The lasted article by Ysin Elhaj, who spend time in prison, talking about oppression and the West, http://www.alsafahat.net/blog/?p=3640
is worth reading regarding this matter.

My hope is to see the time when we do not have to use alias names and can speak openly about issues without fearing the System.
Small note: I did distinguish I hope, between the System and the regime. Now when to use authority instead of regime, this is something Am not good at it yet.
Your observation about SC makes sense. Look the last two posts, how many comments relate to the subject which contentious and what comments not related.
So, go figure, you are on the money my dear ), cheers.

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August 10th, 2008, 4:37 pm

 

175. Majhool said:

Thank you TQ for the link to Yasin’s article.

For those who don’t know the story behind this great intelectual

ياسين الحاج صالح- كاتب: اسمي ياسين الحاج صالح كاتب، مواليد 1961، دخلت على السجن سنة 1980 كان عمري 19 سنة، قضيت عشر سنين وشوي بسجن المسلمية بحلب، بعدين أربع سنين بعدرا جنب دمشق وبالـ 1993 حاكمتني محكمة أمن الدولة 15 سنة، بعد ما خلصت أرسلوني على تدمر قضيت سنة إضافية.. يعني كملت 16 سنة وطلعت بآخر سنة 1999.

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6CC58BFC-091F-4E91-86F5-C8D87C1FD923.htm

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August 10th, 2008, 7:23 pm

 

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