News Round Up (Mon Aug. 10, 2009)

The Dutch and some other EU members have been hesitant to let Damascus into its Mediterranean trade agreement because of its human rights violations. All other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea are members, no matter how egregious their human rights violations are.

It might be right to keep Syria out if this were to produce results, but it is unlikely to. I have argued on these pages that Europe is likely to have better success in bringing liberalism to Syria if it follows a China policy. By drawing Syria into the global economy and producing a larger middle class that has a real interest in abiding by international laws, the West is likely to have a greater impact than through sanctionsRound

Britain backs Syria-EU pact despite concerns
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Wed Aug 5, 2009

DAMASCUS (Reuters) – Britain supports signing an economic pact between Syria and the European Union despite its concerns about human rights violations by Damascus, a British official said Tuesday.

Ivan Lewis, a deputy Foreign Office minister, called for a “new beginning” with Syria and said Damascus should be encouraged to change policies, despite its alliance with Iran and support for the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah militant groups.

“(Britain) will try and play a positive role to help that happen, although some European countries still have concerns about elements of Syrian policy. We still hope we can overcome those concerns and that an agreement be signed,” Lewis said after meeting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem…..

Fred Hoff Visits Damascus to discuss the Obama peace plan and lay foundations for next steps. He is accompanied by a delegation to carry out discussions with various Syrians (although the following article does not say who is accompanying Hoff in the delegation, it is likely that they are military and will develop the new security agreement on Iraq.

يستبق خطة أوباما عن السلام …هوف يزور دمشق خلال أيام لإجراء محادثات “مهمة”

تزامناً مع زيادة الحديث عن احتمال إطلاق الرئيس الأميركي باراك أوباما خطته للسلام الشامل في الشرق الأوسط، نقلت وكالة الأنباء الألمانية عن مصادر مطلعة مواكبة للعلاقات السورية الأميركية أمس عن أن السفير فريدريك هوف نائب المبعوث الأميركي للسلام في الشرق الأوسط السيناتور جورج ميتشل يعتزم زيارة سورية خلال الأيام القليلة المقبلة.
وأكدت المصادر التي لم تسمها الوكالة أن وفداً غير سياسي سيرافق هوف في زيارته إلى دمشق بهدف إجراء محادثات مهمة مع المسؤولين السوريين استكمالاً لزيارات سابقة قام بها ميتشل وهوف في الأشهر القليلة الماضية في إطار “خريطة طريق بين واشنطن ودمشق” كما اصطلح على تسميتها في وقت سابق.
وتدور محادثات مباشرة بين إدارة الرئيس أوباما والقيادة السورية من خلال ميتشل منذ عدة أشهر تشمل العلاقات الثنائية ومسارات السلام في المنطقة والوضع في العراق والأراضي الفلسطينية ولبنان والملف الإيراني.

PR-Inside, VIA FLC

“Engagement with Syria has emerged as a high priority for US President Obama’s administration, as evidenced by the flurry of diplomatic activity since the new president took office in January. We expect these efforts to bear some fruit, not least because of the poor state of the Syrian economy. The prospect of improved trade ties and the likelihood of increased inward investment will act as a major incentive………

The path to peace will not be easy for Syria, as illustrated in its spiky relationship with Israel. Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel´s prime minister, had declared himself hostile to the return of the Golan Heights to Syria – one of Damascus´s key demands of the regional peace process …. There are also still plenty of questions hanging over Syria´s commitment to the US vision of peace: its support of Iran, Hamas and Hizbullah is popular at home, and there is some suggestion that Syria has concealed the extent of its nuclear research facilities. Washington has also called on Syria to take action against al-Qaeda fighters entering Iraq from its territory. The Syrian economy is under attack on several fronts in 2009, and we are forecasting a slump in real GDP growth to just 1.4%, down from an estimated 4.1% in 2007. Conditions will remain tough in 2010, when we see growth rising only slightly to 1.8%, before recovering further to 2.6% in 2011. A poor growth outlook, twin deficits on the fiscal and current accounts and a lack of inward investment are likely to exert downside pressure on the currency during our forecast period.

Economy:

Syrian tourism grows fast amidst economic crisis
www.chinaview.cn 2009-08-10

DAMASCUS, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) — Despite the global financial crisis, Syria saw a 23 percent increase of Arab and European tourists in July compared to the same month last year, showed the latest official statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism.

According to the statistics, Bahrain accounted for 55 percent of the tourists, followed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Tourism in Syria has recorded strong growth in recent years. Minister of Tourism Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa told a Brazilian commercial delegation last month that visitors to Syria increased by 9 percent in the first half this year even amidst the international financial crisis, compared to the same period last year.

According to the minister, tourism has accounted for 11 percent of Syria’s gross domestic product (GDP) in recent years and Syria is now receiving 5.4 million visitors per year on average.

So far, Syria has tended to attract visitors from other parts of the Middle East, but promotion campaigns by the state and tour operators last year have targeted Asian and European tourists.

One important partner with Syria in the sector is Turkey, and relations between the two countries have grown significantly in recent years.

Turkey and Syria have signed deals to foster bilateral tourism and jointly promote the two countries as tourist destinations abroad, which means Turkish and Syrian operators could sell packages including both countries.

US Fines DHL express for Dealings with Syria
German express delivery company DHL has been fined USD 9.4 million by the US Treasury for dealing with countries under sanctions, including Syria.

Syria: Slow and Steady
Oxford Business Group, 7 August 2009

In March, the long-anticipated Damascus Stock Exchange (DSE) was launched and now, some six months into trading, the DSE has 11 companies listed, with three more currently undertaking initial public offerings. …

As further encouragement to entice Syria’s major privately owned family groups to list, Al Jleilati explained to OBG that, “Companies who restructure to have more than 51% of their ownership held by multiple shareholders will be taxed at 14% compared to historical rates that sometimes reached as high as 65%. Companies will also be forced to recalculate their past incomes, with the government granting immunity on all reporting discrepancies by imposing a flat back-tax of 1%, which we see as a very fair compromise.”

Despite the incentives provided, many companies are still reluctant to report their earnings, according to Sofian Haikal, the director of brokerage firm Cham Capital. “Family companies lack trust in the authorities and many are afraid to be the first guinea pigs in reporting their taxable incomes. That said, I am optimistic of the eventual transition from family to public business, as it only needs a few successful examples to gain collective popularity,” he told OBG.

Investors also face difficulties in measuring the intangible assets earned by these companies, such as brand equity, and there is reluctance on the part of investors to sell-off shares. According to research produced by Bemo Finance, share prices have risen 57% over the past four months. As a result of this upward trend, combined with a perception that due to the 2% daily fluctuation cap most listed companies are currently undervalued, many investors are holding onto their stocks. …

QNB Syria unit $37 mln IPO oversubscribed

Mon Aug 10, 2009 (Reuters) – The Syrian unit of Qatar National Bank QNBK.QA (QNB) has raised at least 1.7 billion Syrian pounds ($37 million) through a public offering that is closing on Monday evening, a person close to the matter said.

QNB on June 30 said it aimed to raise 1.7 billion Syrian pounds by selling a 34 percent stake in its Syrian unit. The shares are offered to Syrian private investors at 500 pounds a share in an IPO running from July 12 to Aug. 10.

Lebanon:

Jumblat: I Alone Am ‘Entitled’ to Set a Date for Syria Visit

MP Walid Jumblat reiterated that he was the only person “entitled” to set the date for his visit to Damascus, according to comments published Monday in al-Anbaa newspaper. “I am the only one entitled to set the date, nature, circumstances and timing of my visit to Damascus. I will also study – at a later time – the possibility of visiting any other capital,” Jumblat said in his weekly interview with the daily. He said pending issues between Lebanon and Syria “can be resolved between the two states according to protocol.”

An excellent article by Sami.
U-turn puts Hezbollah in the driving seat
By Sami Moubayed

DAMASCUS – Those who rejoiced at the election results in Lebanon on June 7 had a big surprise this week, as the tables seemed to turn on the pro-Western coalition in favor of the Hezbollah-led opposition, and Damascus.

During the elections, the March 14 Coalition, which is close to the United States and France, won 71 seats in parliament, while the opposition, backed by Syria and Iran, came out with 57, maintaining the minority they had held since 2005. On August 2, however, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, head of the Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon and one of the March 14 heavyweights, sent shockwaves throughout Beirut by announcing that his alliance with March 14 had been “driven by necessity and must end”. ….

…Jumblatt has also changed his views on who killed Rafik Hariri in 2005. He had previously accused Syria, but he told the magazine that he was no longer certain who had carried out the assassination. ….

Why did Jumblatt – known to be a political chameleon – change his colors so dramatically? The Druze warlord was a strong ally of Syria during Lebanon’s civil war, and was royally rewarded for his services with government posts for him and his entourage throughout the 1990s. But when he realized that Syria’s fortunes were turning in 2004 – shortly after the war on Iraq – he shifted towards the opposition, calling on the Syrians to leave Lebanon, though more than anyone else it was him that helped legitimize the Syrian presence in Lebanon, for nearly 20 years.

Jumblatt managed to read the political landscape in Washington well , realizing that the Bush White House was at daggers end with the Syrian government, because of its lack of cooperation in the war on Iraq. ….

Jumblatt is a political animal who follows the prevailing wind, whether it comes from Moscow, Washington or Damascus. When Syria and the US were allies in the 1990s, he reasoned that it was best to be on Syria’s side, due to its excellent relations with the Bill Clinton administration. When he saw that relations were irreparable between the Syrians and George W Bush, he decided to abandon ship – especially after the passing of resolution 1559, seeing that a head-on collusion between Damascus and Washington loomed on the horizon.

That happened when Hariri was killed in 2005, and Jumblatt tried to ally himself with Washington’s “regime change” movement, but by late 2008 it was clear that Bush was leaving, having repeatedly failed at toppling – or even weakening – the Syrians. Now with Obama in power, there is no sense in maintaining hostility with the Syrians, since Obama is interested neither in regime change, not even instability in Damascus.

Obama’s focus is on Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan – not the worries of Lebanon, and Jumblatt has realized this from day one. The Americans are willing to tolerate a reborn Syrian influence in Lebanon, if it guarantees peace and quiet in Beirut and Iraq. ….

Israel PM Warns Against Including Hizbullah in Lebanon Government

Israel warned on Monday that the Lebanese government as a whole would be blamed for any attack from its territory if Hizbullah is part of the new government. “If Hizbullah joins the government it will be clear that the Lebanese government will be held responsible for any attack coming from its territory against Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Iraq:

Baath party leader and former Saddam Hussein aide Izzat al-Douri called on both armed and unarmed groups in Iraq to engage in politics. Al-Douri claimed that the formation of a national council would create a forum for promoting a unified Iraqi political platform and facilitate a greater political role for many actors in Iraq.

Comments (100)


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51. Shami said:

Jad,not only women were raped in hama (after the material and human destructions)and syrian prisons…this is not unknown ,do you ignore it really ?if one of those was a christian girl ,i’m sure that you would have adopted the same stance than these young people who fought the regime .
I would not repeat it at any occasion but i wanted to give an explain to the reaction of some young people to state terror because we are sure of one thing ,the Syrian brotherhood exist in Syria since the 30′s and it was a respectable party during the democratic era.
So who brought this mess to Syria ?Alex as regime propagandist would say in a pavlovian reflex …Saudi Arabia or Egypt or Israel and USA ,but he knew inwardly the true answer ,he knew it.he would say the truth of his thought once he is freed from the world of lies of this mukhabarati dictature.

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August 15th, 2009, 5:33 pm

 

52. Nour said:

Shami,

You have a tendency to just mix between various contradictory ideologies, only because you believe they are generally secular. Social Nationalism has nothing to do with communism or fascism, and its view of society is completely different than the view of the above two ideologies. The bottom line is that your religious beliefs have nothing to do with your national identity or your social belonging. You are Syrian because you are a member of a single Syrian society in whose single life you naturally partake. The fact that you adhere to the Muslim religion does not change this fact. It is your nation that gives you your character, temperment and social psyche, and not your religious conviction. There are Muslims who are Pakistani, Afghani, Indonesian, etc., but they each are part of a distinct society, completely different from your own. The fact that you share their religious beliefs does not make you part of their nation or society.

Moreover, the civil state should not view its people except through their national belonging and citizenship. This is the basis of all modern political systems and it is why someone like you and I can live normally in the US or in European countries. We are viewed as equal citizens under the law and our religious, ethnic, or racial background has absolutely no bearing on our status. This is not fascism or stalinism, it is the basis of having an advanced, modern, unified nation where the national energies can be guided toward serving the national interest, rather than toward divisiveness, fragmentation, disintegration, and internal strife.

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August 16th, 2009, 2:23 am

 

53. Nour said:

Shami,

If we are to accept your claim of rapes following the Hama battles for the sake of argument, that would still weaken your above argument, where you claimed that the MB engaged in terror attacks in response to reports of regime men raping Muslim girl, as that would have preceded Hama.

However, those reports of rapes are intended specifically to incite sectarian hatred. The maim message sent is that “Alawites are raping Muslim girls,” and this is enough to provoke severe animosities within Syrian society. It is a dangerous practice and we ought to refuse to participate in it.

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August 16th, 2009, 2:36 am

 

54. Shami said:

Nour ,you are playing the devil’s advocate here,even lebanese (from all sects) were raped by your friendly regime,you are aware of it i’m sure of that ,ok in the context of the civil war and the overbid in terror in leb it was more soluble but in Syria it was an abrupt act of agression against innocent civilians that translate a deep sectarian hatred from the alawites of asad against the cities and especially ,the gem of the orontes ,hama ,as if the massacres and destruction of a city on the head of its men , women and children was not enough to pin up their hatred.Dont be satisfied with these slogans if not consider yourself as passive accomplice,i’m speaking about 10 000′s of syrian civilians massacred ,historic sites destroyed ,urban historic fabric erased…it happened few years ago.
Forget law and fiqh, my religion is in the same time a civilization,an art,architecture,way of life ,a culture which is a wonderful mixture of influences from China to Al Andalus,from Sassanian persia,Syriac and the Classical greek culture ,it’s a wonderful synthesis of great culture ,for this reason ,in my opinion a muslim can not be other than a liberal.(middle eastern christians and jews are also part of this culture).
Other thing Nour,when you visit Damascus ,you will see the wonderful shrines of Saladin ,Nur al Din Zanki ,Zahir Baybars ,all of those took part to our prestige and they were of non Arab origin.The Ottomans also had an huge influence on us.
You have to take into account this past.

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August 16th, 2009, 3:51 am

 

55. Shami said:

Nour,today the most powerfull country in the world contradict your jacobian conception of citizenship.I’m at ease with it.

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August 16th, 2009, 4:07 am

 

56. jad said:

Shami, As usual you contradict yourself with what you write, your comments are the typical Syrian soapopera mould of ‘Historical Fantasia’ which is a pure fantasia with no real fact or goal to it and fiction without a meaning to support what you want and dismiss that doesn’t go well with what you are looking to prove. When you are accusing the communists and fascists political party of looking to make a homogenize the society and asking for one religion to rule over everybody because they are the majority of the world as you said that is a homogenizing in its extreme so you want what you are pretending to avoid, that is an obvious trick used toward ignorant not an educated and open minded society. When you are accusing the ‘regime’ ALONE of raping women of all sects in Lebanon and only Sunni women in Syria that is another case of delusion and propagandas from your full of hate and ignorance MB party that you are defending without mentioning what it did and that we wouldn’t be here talking about if it was a real political party not bunch of thugs and terrorist who destroy our society and gave the regime all needed tools to use them as reasons for us loosing years of freedom, your alike are the reason of that and you actually inherit that complex from your family for some obvious reasons and not as a true believer. Unfortunately, you are another Syrian failure to understand that building a society for the future needs lots of work and not by just belong to one sect who wants to take over everything and colour it with one tone.
You also wrote this paragraph about Alex that whenever you stuck looking the sectarian you are you call him and Norman as the good ‘Christian’ as if they are not Syrian!! What did change now and why accusing Alex of something he is not? Is it that you just wanted or to drag him into this fruitless repeated discussion of yours? I’m wondering?
(Alex as regime propagandist would say in a pavlovian reflex …Saudi Arabia or Egypt or Israel and USA ,but he knew inwardly the true answer ,he knew it.he would say the truth of his thought once he is freed from the world of lies of this mukhabarati dictature.)

((middle eastern christians and jews are also part of this culture) In fact it is the opposite way around, Islam is part of the whole civilization mosaic and not the whole picture, so Islam is not in anyway better or higher than any other religion and the Arabic civilization is the same and not higher than Chinese or Roman ones.

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August 16th, 2009, 4:58 pm

 

57. Shami said:

Jad,i disagree with your negative judgement on our history ,this is your opinion as a christian who is not well in his today environment(this is not my fault)but you are free to think as you want ,your freedom is sacred for me.
As for my criticism of Alex,it was harsh ,i’m angry at him when he defends the regime at any price but honestly i love him very much and i have a lot of respect for his work ,i like dynamic people and his goals are noble, i’m sure that he is for a democratic Syria ,the opposite of today Syria,i’m sure of that.Unlike our brother Nour and may be you ,he is a liberal.
As for the Islamic Civilization ,its great merit it’s because it was a wonderful place of meeting of all these great cultures that preceded Muhamadian Islam ,this great synthesis had been made by the early Muslims,in Damascus,Aleppo ,Baghdad ,Hama,Cairo,Bukhara,Isfahan,Tunis,Fes ,Al Andalus,it was the first attempt of the internationalization of knowledge with the building of universities and hospitals from Al Andalus to Samarkand in which worked people from all backgrounds ,religions and ethnic groups,this great Civilization permitted later the cultural renaissance of Europe.

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August 16th, 2009, 6:31 pm

 

58. jad said:

Kareem, I’ll show you how much contradictions are in your comments and how much you don’t understand what people writes you when you read something about religion and you let your religion to take over your logical analysis, you are a typical example of the failure I’m talking about:

1- (i disagree with your negative judgement on our history), I didn’t judge my history I simply point out that you are promoting homogeneity while you are calling every secular party the good and bad of them as fascist, while the ultimate fascist this world have is the religious one because you can’t argue with God?

2- (this is your opinion as a christian who is not well in his today environment(this is not my fault) but you are free to think as you want ,your freedom is sacred for me.) Here you direct your comment to me assuming that I’m Christian as if there is anything wrong with that, while you didn’t write SYRIAN, you wrote ‘christian’ then ‘who is not well in his today environment’ which is a clear indication you see that the Arab Christians are not well in today Arabic/Islamic environment and that for all those “Christians” you advise them to either become Muslims and enjoy ‘your’ world of freedom or shut up and leave, I have good news for you buddy, they are already leaving don’t worry, and if the situation of religious ignorance and the Christian immigration rate stays as it is right now in couple decades you will have none.

3- (As for my criticism of Alex,it was harsh ,i’m angry at him when he defends the regime at any price but honestly i love him very much) a contradiction again, for me you wrote that my freedom is sacred, for Alex, he doesn’t have any freedom of saying anything that doesn’t fit with your agenda and therefore he is a Propagandist who you have love/Hate feeling toward though you never meet the guy. What is that? Freedom of what? The freedom to shut up?

4- (Unlike our brother Nour and may be you ,he is a liberal) you get back to me and Nour since he is a SSNP’ers’ after you conclude that Alex is ‘FOR SURE’ for a democratic Syria while we are not and we are the opposite of liberals (you and ‘maybe’ Alex) which make us Conservative. (Not you).

5- In your finale you made couple historical mistakes:
a, The early Muslims were busy conquer new lands and spreading the Islam as a religion and they weren’t free to “great synthesis” anybody it was the language of swards at that time. The translation of the Greek philosophy and the golden age of science and art didn’t flourish until later and many of those scientists were not even Muslims.
b, You also took all the credit of any civilization before and even after Islam, I’m sorry to say that but it shows how shallow your understanding of civilizations is and how much your spirituality is taking over reality in your understanding, as I wrote before it is a typical Syrian Historical Fantasia TV.

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August 17th, 2009, 12:28 am

 

59. Alex said:

Dear Shami, Nour and Jad

You are all for a democratic Syria … I honestly don’t think I remember any of the people who comment here who are NOT for a democratic Syria. The difference is that some of you are risk averse and prefer the slowest and safest approach, others are for a more aggressive, faster strategy of change, and very few are for anything, including violence if necessary, in order to change.

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August 17th, 2009, 1:01 am

 

60. jad said:

Alex,
Do you love kareem and Nour more than me to put their names first and me last? I’m hurt? Is it because Kareem wrote that he loves you?
Well I LOVE YOU too, can you put my name before Nour at least? ;)
Nour, you need to write that you LOVE Alex as well.

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August 17th, 2009, 1:22 am

 

61. Nour said:

Shami,

I don’t want to get into an argument about specific incidents you are claiming because such arguments are fruitless. However, I would like to know how the most powerful country in the world today denies my concept of citizenship. How is the concept of citizenship in the US any different from what I wrote above? In the US all American citizens are equal under the law. There are no laws that apply to one group and laws that apply to another group. There is no understanding that there is a majority group ruling a minority group. Under your concept of a state, however, a Christian citizen is different than a Muslim citizen. As such, a Christian man cannot marry a Muslim woman.

Moreover, where did you get that I am opposed to a democratic Syria? In fact, you are the one opposed to true democracy, as you merely understand democracy to be the dictatorship of the majority, which is why you say that “sectarianism is useless to you” because Muslims are the majority.

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August 17th, 2009, 2:59 am

 

62. Shami said:

Dear Nour ,National Socialism (Social Nationalism of Saadeh),Baath ,Nazism,Stalinism pro Theocracy Islam ,are all ideological trends and thus abhor democracy ,multi partism ,liberalism ,criticism ,influent civil societies …this is an historical constant,if not show me otherwise through historical evidences.
Habibi Jad ,as i said you are free to think as you like ,if you consider me as anti all – orthodox Islam ,it’s your problem ,i dont feel myself obliged to show you otherwise.As for the syrian christianity state of depletion ,it make me very sad ,and i refuse it ,i will do all my possible in order to gain them back in their homeland.I got recent number which show this disaster ,they make up around 5 % in 2008.
Now i ask you and your comprade Nour ,could you provide us the main reasons of this under our eyes extinction of christianity in Syria ?And we should build on this matter a debate around the nature of the less bad kind of political regime for our country.
Your answer was ,strong jacobian secularism ,homogenization of the society around secular values and nationalism.
And when i said early muslims ,it means the first generations of muslims ,as early than the Sahaba,thanks to smart and liberal rulers like the Sahabi Muawiya Ibn Abi Sufian who was the secretary of the prophet.
Muawiya contributed by his open-mindedness ,religious tolerance,pragmatism ,realism and effeciency for laying the foundation stone of the wonderful civilization.
Many from his advicers where Syrian and Arab christians ,the christian Al Akhtal was their favorite poet ,the most important ministery of the Umayyad state was managed by Ibn Sarjon(Sergius)the father of Saint John of Damascus,the tutors of his children were christians,his favorite wife was also christian,the mother of the unfamous next caliph Yazid.
The Umayyads also built the first Bimaristans in Islam (hospitals and university of medecine) ,and under the patronage of the prince Khalid Ibn Yazid ibn Muawiya ,the first known muslim scientist in chemistry,were proceeded the first translations of Greek and Coptic manuscripts to Arabic.
The Arab and Syrian christians also took part in the reform of the Islamic army.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calid
http://books.google.be/books?id=isJY9jWdru0C&pg=PA71&lpg=PA71&dq=khalid+ibn+yazid&source=bl&ots=VJIfOiV6xl&sig=LIMT5H1J_QFPhGOnCz1uvEzgXGc&hl=fr&ei=63uJSuOtJsmN_AbptPyOAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=khalid%20ibn%20yazid&f=false

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August 17th, 2009, 3:52 pm

 

63. jad said:

From Comrade Jad to Comrade Kareem:
You have something wrong in your way of analyzing, you start the debate with taking the side of Said Hawwa and make him a reference and better than Saadeh who is according to you some kind of fascist, then you come back with this empty statement that you want Christian to come back as if you are a Wali or a Sultan or even better a Khalifa who has the rights of bringing people back or exile them?
Didn’t you read what your Hawwa wrote and teach about Christians, Jews, Alawites and Shia and how Sunni Muslims should deal and treat them? For those who don’t know who Said Hawaa is, Google it and enjoy the lovely readings of his books.
Do you seriously telling the Syrian minorities and you specify Christians of your message that they should accept being treated as third or fourth class citizens in their own country in the 21st century if they join your holy war on the existing kind of secular regime?
Try to open your mind more Kareem and be Syrian before being a religious person, don’t mix your logical thinking with religious, it is the wrong way to move forward.

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August 17th, 2009, 7:15 pm

 

64. Shami said:

Bro Jad ,

Who told you that i’m a fan of sheikh Said Hawwa?

Remove your prejudges “if you can” because your Kareem is not myself.
I only want the best regime for our society ,a regime which is based on reason,equal rights and duties ,justice and freedom for all,Muslims and non Muslims.
Muawiya was great for the 8 century standards,but was was right and good in that era and context ,had made its time …so try to understand this hsitorical approach.

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August 17th, 2009, 8:23 pm

 

65. Nour said:

Shami,

The Social Nationalist “3aqideh” is not an “ideology” in the sense that Marxism or National Socialism are ideologies, as it is not a set of rigid doctrines that control people’s thinking. Rather, it is more like a launching pad for free thought, rooted in a clear view of society, the nation, and the state. And the Social Nationalist view of society is the same view being implemented in most liberal democracies, where society as viewed as a single organic unit, and not a conglomeration of sects and tribes coexisting on the same land, as you would like to have it.

In addition, you have never read anything by Antoun Saadeh, so to lump his ideology with that of Nazism and Communism is quite an assumption. It is advisable that you read and learn about a particular thought before you criticize it.

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August 17th, 2009, 8:47 pm

 

66. Shami said:

Nour ,who told you that i did not read on Saadeh and its ideology ?

You love him as we love the prophet,you respect his writings as the muslims respect al Quran ,and you have the equivalent of takfir ,al takhwin(yahud al dakhil).

Is the SSNP not an ideological party ?

Are the members of this party not asked to alienate their own origin and personality for the sake of a model ?

And be careful ,i didnt say “communism” ,i used instead the word Stalinism) and you should have understood that the proximity i see in common,is totalitarism and not their social or economic ideal.

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August 17th, 2009, 9:01 pm

 

67. jad said:

Shami (since you don’t like Kareem anymore)
I didn’t prejudge you, I’m analyzing and judging what you wrote since I don’t know you in person I can’t and wont judge you, it’s not me.
Is it or is it not YOU who brought Hawwa into the discussion as a more ‘knowledgeable’ and more ‘interesting’ to read for than Saadeh and you called him a ‘Thinker’ and ‘Sufi Sheikh’? I’m not sure how do you call him a Sufi. Isn’t a Sufi who teach ‘Happiness’ and spreed ‘Illumination’ to people through knowing GOD? Isn’t Suffism, the Religion of the Heart?)

(Dear Nour,i’m sorry ,we have more knowledgeable and interessting than Saadeh to read.If he is so important as thinker,he would have occupied many in Harvard or Oxford ,but so is not the case.
Instead you would see many academic researches on Said Hawwa ,who was a MB thinker but also a Sufi sheikh.)

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August 17th, 2009, 9:03 pm

 

68. Shami said:

his ideology sorry

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August 17th, 2009, 9:11 pm

 

69. LeoLeoni said:

The question of identity has been mentioned many times in the forums. Is our identity under threat? What are we? Are we Arabs first? Muslims first? Syrians first? Syria or Greater Syria, etc? Regardless of what our answers are, any forced attempt to force that identity on the collective whole would result in drastic failure. Identities start from the individualistic level and only evolve to a collective or societal level when there is an awareness among the people that promoting such identity nationally is in the mutual interest of individual citizens.

Nour, liberal democracies do not view society as a “Single Organic Unit”. Most of these societies tend to be placed more towards the individualistic side of the individualistic-collective scale. They view society as comprised of different unique individuals affixed with natural and legal rights. One of the main rights that are guaranteed in liberal democratic constitutions is the right to belong to a group and right to assembly, regardless of faith, race, or ethnicity. Liberal democratic societies do not regard the uniqueness and differences among individuals as a threat to the state. Oppositely, it is the repression of civil and political rights that are the biggest threat to the state and the identity.

From my readings of Antun Saadeh and SSNP’s writings and comparing it with Aflaq and the Baath’s writings, I didn’t see a big difference between the two in terms of their view on civil and political liberties. “Single GREATER SYRIAN Organic unit” as SSNP are propagating is no different than the “Single Arab Organic unit” that the Baath is propagating. The only difference between the two is their definition of what comprises their nation and the position of Syria relative to this nation. Whether we are for Pan-Arab unity, Greater Syria, or just concentrating on making today’s political Syria a better place, the only way for reaching that ideal stage is to allow the people in the region to choose so from their free will. If the people choose so freely, so be it, if they choose otherwise, then no one has the right to attack them or label them as traitors or question their patriotism.

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August 17th, 2009, 10:40 pm

 

70. Nour said:

Shami,

I can tell you haven’t read Saadeh because your comments about his thought are way off the mark. You lump is thought with contradictory ideologies, only because that’s the way you want to see it, when it is completely and utterly inaccurate.

Saadeh is not a prophet, and none of us sees him as such. But he is a great thinker and laid down the foundation of transforming our nation from its current backwards, stagnant stage, into a modern, efficien,dynamic society.

In any case, you have failed to once respond to the issues and questions I have posed to you, and instead you always come back and just attack Saadeh and make haphazard accusations against the party like alienating “your origin and personality for the sake of a model” which is utter nonsense. I asked you above, how is it that our understanding of society is denied by the most powerful nation today, as you claimed beforehand, and you have failed to address this issue. So I ask you again to address this issue and tell me how our understanding of society is harmful, according toyou.

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August 17th, 2009, 10:41 pm

 

71. Shami said:

Nour,not at all ,i was for a while very close to SSNP people and they sent to me some of their literature and the main book of saadeh that i didnt read, a quick review was enough to get an idea of the content , and it was enough for me,i was in that time more occupied with Max Weber ,Marx ,Hegel and co ,anyway,i would try to answer you by an other question.

In your ideal state is there a place for ,Christian,Jewish,Islamic,NGOs,Institutions,schools,universities,hospitals ,political parties?
Because i’m sorry ,your conception of the secular state is according to the jacobian ideal and such secular nation state concept concerns a small number in the world like France and Turkey do you know others ?

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August 17th, 2009, 11:59 pm

 

72. Shami said:

Ha i forget in the meanwhile ,these two countries ,France and Turkey have put some water in their wine ,today there are Catholic universities in France and Turkey is moving quickly toward a liberal pluralistic democracy which is led today by the AKP of Erdogan,a muslim liberal party.

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August 18th, 2009, 12:15 am

 

73. Shami said:

Leoleoni ,thanks ,great comment and welcome in the group,so we are 3 liberals,Alex ,Kareem and Leo.
2 SSnpers:Nour and Jad…and one Baathi:Norman.

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August 18th, 2009, 12:33 am

 

74. Alex said:

Jad,

That’s right, you need to mention the L word

“Liberal”

: )

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August 18th, 2009, 9:16 am

 

75. Alex said:

Before I go to sleep, I wanted to let all of you know about a new function we just finished programming into SC. Near the top of the left column and below the search box you can now click on “search comments” …. try it:

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?page_id=3884

You will be able to retrieve your last 100 comments (simply enter your name in the author name field)

You can also search by keyword (“Israel”, “Hariri” …) , limit search results (faster) by specifying a range of dates that interest you (last two days for example), search comments within one specific post or all posts …

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August 18th, 2009, 9:21 am

 

76. Nour said:

Shami,

All modern liberal democracies are secular. Show me one advanced democratic nation that doesn’t currently have a secular system. And show me one religious state that is an advanced democracy.

Regarding Saadeh and the SSNP, you have basically admitted that you didn’t read Saadeh because your preconceived views to prejudge his thought. But your conception of the Social Nationalist ideology based purely on fantasy. What gave you the idea that under a Social Nationalist state there would be no room for religions, institutions, universities, NGO’s, etc. Antoun Saadeh called for the separation of religion from the state, not separation of religion from society.

Moreove, the Social Nationalist movement is merely a movement attemtping to bring about the renaissance of the Syrian nation by uncoverin our national identity. Upon attaining national consciousness, the people will then determine the political system that best serves the national interest. Social Nationalism does not impose any particular political system.

In any case, again, you have failed to show me how the most powerful nation on earth denies our view of society and our concept of the state.

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August 18th, 2009, 11:16 am

 

77. Nour said:

Leoleoni:

You are mixing between two different issues, the individual identity and the group identity. While no one denies the importance of the rise of the individual identity and the ensuing individual righs and freedoms that came with it, it is the group identity and the identification of the individual with his/her larger environment that is an even more important development. Saadeh says in the introduction to the Genesis of Nations:

“While the emergence of the personality of the individual was a great event in the advancement of the human psyche and the development of human association, the emergence of the group personality was the greatest, most far-reaching, most genuine and delicate, and most complex event in the evolution of mankind. Group personality is a social-economic-psychological complex requiring the individual to add to the awareness of his own personality a awareness of the personality of his group and his nation; requiring him also to feel, in addition to his own needs, the needs of his society, to complement his understanding of his own self with and understanding of the psychology of his social community, to link hs own interestswith those ofhis people and to feel with every member of society, to care for it and to desire ts welfare like he desires his own.”

No one is arguing against individual rights and individual identities. However, there is such a thing as a group identity that is unique to each society, and which throughout the development of mankind, has taken precedence over the individual identity. This is why nations, especially those with advanced liberal democracies have installed laws and institutions that place the national interest above individual interests. For example, in the US, every citizen is required to pay taxes to the state, every male citizen is required to register for selective service in case of a military draft (when such drafts are implemented, as the case was in Vietnam, the individual didn’t have the right to choose not to go), and students in public schools were required to stand every morning and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which reads “I Pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” You notice that we were required to repeat that the US was “one nation” and that it was “indivisible”.

This is not to say that the individual is not an important element in society, for he/she surely is. As Saadeh stated, each individual is a social potentiality, meaning that each individual has the potential to produce and contribute to society, which is why it is important, in order or society to advance, that individuals be afforded specific individual rights. However, it is wholly erroneous to claim that a society or a nation is merely a group of individuals, and this is not what the western understanding is. In fact, in a Systems Theory course I took in my undergraduate studies, we were taught that reductionism is not appropriate in studying a system. In one of our required texts, “System Effects” by Robery Jervis, the author asserts that “Much of sociology is similarly built on the idea that societies cannot be reduced to the sum of the individuals who compose them. Indeed, many sociologists draw the analogy between society and a living creature…”

As for the issue of national identity, it is actually very important to be fully aware of our national identity if we hope to transform and advance our society. If we seek to improve something, it is necessary that we identify that which needs to be improved. Moreover, it is impossible for society to move forward when its various particularistic groups are working for their own particularistic ambitions and interests, due to their lack of national consciousness. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us that we become conscious of our national identity so that we may work toward bettering our nation.

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August 18th, 2009, 12:49 pm

 

78. jad said:

Show me one advanced democratic nation that doesn’t currently have a secular system:
Afghanistan

And show me one religious state that is an advanced democracy:
Kingdom or Saudi Arabia KSA

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August 18th, 2009, 2:11 pm

 

79. Shami said:

Nour ,i told you that there are different versions of Secularism and you keep repeating that your model of secularism(jacobean) and that of the USA are the same ,they are not.
You would find many interessting articles on the web showing these differences.
They are easy to find .

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August 18th, 2009, 6:12 pm

 

80. Off the Wall said:

Alex
Excellent upgrade. Thank you very much. Now I can avoid making flip-flop comments. :)

I have much to say about recent arguments including a response to Yossi, but I currently have no time for much other than work. I will not be able to comment much before the middle of September. Till then, i wish all good times. I am reading all posts, daily.

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August 18th, 2009, 7:41 pm

 

81. Nour said:

Shami,

You keep repeating that Saadeh’s secularism is Jacobean, when it is absolutely not. You are making assumptions and wild accusations, and you haven’t even read Saadeh. Nothing in Saadeh’s writings suggests that his secular model is Jacobean. As I said, Saadeh called for the separation of religion from the state, not for the separation of religion from society. Syrians will continue to have their religious beliefs and practice their religions, but they will understand that they are all part of one nation and one society without any difference between Syrian and another. You, however, prefer the Sharia model, where citizens are treated according to their sectarian and religious backgrounds.

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August 18th, 2009, 11:28 pm

 

82. Yossi (AKA Rumyal) said:

OTW,

I hear you… Lots of work and whatever is left we have to give to the gods of the summer… There will be many a rainy days soon to solve humanity’s problems :-)

Nour,

I noticed in the SSNP statements (in Arabic) that you shared here, that the term that is used to refer Israel (I think) is “the Jewish enemy”, while you personally haven’t been using this terminology. Would this be a case where you adapt your language to the audience, or just a matter of personal preference? Would you say that the SSNP is anti-Jewish (i.e. “the Jews are the enemy”) or rather anti-Zionist (i.e., “the Jews on our lands are an enemy”). Or maybe the “the Jewish enemy” refers to all the global Jewish interests (Israel included) which support Zionism?

Also, if you don’t mind a two additional questions…

• Did Saadeh talk specifically about Jews in his political theory?
• In what way is Saadeh’s thinking unique to him and in what way is it a derivation of European nationalism?

Thank you.

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August 19th, 2009, 12:51 am

 

83. Yossi (AKA Rumyal) said:

Here’s a response from Peace Now for the op-ed by Robert Malley that Shai copied in the first comment of this thread.

http://peacenow.org/entries/the_two-state_solution_never_about_solving_everything

“Like many people I know, I spent a lot of time wrestling with how to react to the recent New York Times op-ed by Rob Malley (who I know well and admire…”

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August 19th, 2009, 1:14 am

 

84. Shai said:

Yossi,

“The effort to shift the debate to the most intractable, existential elements of the conflict – the competing narratives over Israel’s creation and right to exist – is evidence not that the two-state solution is unreachable or impracticable, but that opponents of the two-state solution are petrified that it may be imminent.”

The problem is, that most on both sides belong to this group – most are petrified. The author insinuates that each side should be ready not to receive “everything” it wants, when it comes to Right of Return, or recognition in Israel as the Jewish State. But is that possible nowadays? Dr. Dan Shiftan (of Haifa University) claims it’s not. Naturally, he blames the Palestinian side.

I think the real goal here, is how to get each side to alter, or redefine using different terminology their demands, such that they can be negotiated on. As so often is the case with generalizations, here too using “simple phrases” such as Right of Return or Jewish State may be the problem itself. Perhaps it is time to more clearly define what it is that each side truly wants, and in doing so, to hint at our real “red lines”.

I have no doubt, for instance, that most Palestinians today can accept that the Jewish people need a homeland also for themselves, and that it must be here in Israel. They cannot accept that it will always be (or that laws and regulations will always ensure that it will be) a majority Jewish population. But what is it we Israelis require most – a recognition in our right to live here, or a majority guaranteed by law forever?

Likewise, I have no doubt that most Palestinians can also understand that all or most refugees probably will not return to their old homes in what is now Israel, at least not anytime in the foreseeable future. They can and may return to the newly established Palestinian State , but millions or hundreds of thousands will not return to Jaffa, Haifa, and Lod. So then is there another “kind” of Right of Return that Israelis can accept? I think so. I think we can (and will have to) accept that by creating a state for ourselves, the Palestinians were forced to pay a very heavy price. While justice can never be done for them, there is a lot we can do, certainly economically (financially), and also symbolically. As a victim of any crime or wrongdoing, the Palestinians need first and foremost recognition in their suffering. And this recognition cannot be “in spirit” alone, it must be physical as much as humanly possible. This is something we Israelis will have to understand, sooner or later.

But because we have yet to redefine our demands, to clarify to the other side, and to ourselves, what it is that we truly demand (not just want), I am not optimistic that this can be done in the near future. But this is precisely why we cannot put all our eggs in one basket – the Palestinian one. If progress can’t be made quickly enough here, we must seek it also on other fronts, namely the Syrian/Lebanese ones.

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August 19th, 2009, 9:40 am

 

85. Akbar Palace said:

20 Syrian civilians killed in failed missile test?

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1107665.html

Deputy Director of HRW Joe Stork. What a surprise…

http://blog.camera.org/archives/2009/08/maarivs_bendror_yemini_hits_th_1.html

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August 19th, 2009, 3:30 pm

 

86. jad said:

Smart article by Mr Nizar Sabagh about Women in our Arabic/Islamic world.

هوية المرأة السورية على ……..الاتجاه المعاكس

نزار صباغ – كلنا شركاء
19/ 08/ 2009
قد كانت مغامرة، فالحيادي الذي يتابع متأكد من النهج الذي تتبعه قناة الجزيرة في برامجها عامة و”الحوارية” منها خاصة، كما النهج الذي يتبعه الأستاذ “فيصل القاسم” خلال إدارته لبرنامج “الاتجاه المعاكس” والذي كانت الحلقة الأخيرة تاريخ 18/8/2009 التي حملت عنوان “هوية المرأة”..

أعتقدها حلقة مميزة من خلال المتحاورين ضيفي البرنامج، الأستاذ “بسام القاضي” مدير مرصد نساء سوريا كما كان التعريف عنه ضمن البرنامج، ( ونحن نعرفه كإنسان علماني يؤمن بالله، وحقوقي مهتم بحقوق الأنثى والطفل من منظور إنساني أخلاقي حقوقي)، والأستاذ “محمد أبو الفرج صادق” كاتب ومفكر إسلامي كما عرّفه البرنامج ( وهو يعيش ويعمل في المملكة العربية السعودية ) ومن البادية السورية كما أعلن خلال الحوار ضمن الفقرة الأخيرة في البرنامج.
العنوان المحدد للحلقة “هوية المرأة” كان جاذباً، وحمالاً للكثير من الأوجه، لأن المرأة هي الواقع المأزوم في العالم العربي الإسلامي، مما يوحي ب “سخونة” اللقاء والحوار وبخاصة لمن يعرف الصديق بسام والانتماء الفكري للمحاور عدا عن الأسلوب المتبع عادة في إدارة الحوار، ويمكن لنا القول بأنه بين تيارين فكريين متناقضين تماماً – كما اسم البرنامج – ، تيار عقلاني منفتح على الحياة والواقع بنظرة شمولية ضمن أسس أخلاقية معرفية إنسانية، وتيار استطيع وصفه بأنه أحادي الفكر والنظر وبعيد عن مسيرة الحياة والواقع، رغم محاولته الظهور بشكل متطور نسبياً بلباسه الغربي الطراز ل ِ”ضرورات الحوار واللقاء” .
قد تكون الحلقة فريدة من نوعها نتيجة للصفات الشخصية لكل من الضيفين وقدرتهم على طرح أفكارهم وأسلوبهم في الحوار، وكالعادة المتبعة في برنامج الاتجاه المعاكس فقد كان التوجه الفكري الديني ومحاولات استغلال العاطفة الدينية وفرض الاتجاه والنظرة أحادية الجانب واضحاً منذ بداية الحلقة، إنما تمكن الفكر العلماني/العلمي/الإنساني من فرض وجوده وتأثيره على مجرياتها، وبشكل واضح، واضعاً حقائق الحياة في سياقها الصحيح، مبتعداً كلياً عن الانجرار في العواطف والإثارة الوهمية الكلامية، ومقدماً البراهين التي تثبت صدقية وصحة ما يدعو إليه .
طبيعي أن للإثارة موضع في مثل هكذا حوارات، وقد تؤدي أحياناً إلى نسيان بعض الوقائع التي تؤكد الأفكار، ومنها مثلاً ما كان قد حصل العام الماضي في المملكة العربية السعودية حين احترقت مدرسة للإناث واحترقت الطالبات اللواتي لم يستطعن الخروج ولم تسمح عناصر هيئة الأمر بالمعروف أيضاً بدخول المواطنين والأهالي لإخراج بناتهم وباقي الطالبات بحجة الفضيلة والشرف… كما تعرض الصحفية أسماء الغول من غزة للتهديد بالاعتقال ومصادرة جواز سفرها وحاسوبها واستجواب أصدقاؤها من قبل كتائب الفضيلة بتهمة أنها كانت تضحك على شاطئ البحر … كما تعرض الصحافية السودانية لبنى أحمد الحسين التي تكتب في صحيفة “الصحافة” اليسارية والتي تعمل أيضاً مع بعثة الأمم المتحدة في السودان، إلى التوقيف في “النظارة” في الخرطوم عاصمة دولة السودان بتهمة أن طريقة لباسها تتنافى مع قواعد النظام العام في البلاد وإلى تعرضها للجلد بـ40 جلدة في حال تمت إدانتها بهذه التهمة .. وكما طالبان في أفغانستان ومشروع قانون الأحوال الشخصية الجديد الذي تم إيقافه… وجميعها بحجة مفهوم الفضيلة والشرف، ذات المفهوم الذي يحاول تيار الإسلام السياسي فرضه على مجموع الإناث في بلادنا.
لم يتمكن الأستاذ بسام من القول بأن الكثير من الموبقات اللا أخلاقية تمارس وبشكل شبه علني تحت ستار الحجاب، والأمثلة كثيرة وكثيرة جداً، ولم يتمكن كذلك من توضيح فكرته أن الفضيلة والشرف تكمنان في الذات الإنسانية وليس في اللباس … هل أن الفضيلة والشرف خاصة بالإناث ؟ كم من رجل “متمشيخ” ذي لحية طويلة أم قصيرة يدّعي العلم بالفضيلة والشرف وهو يسرق الناس جهارة سواء في تجارته أو في قراراته، وكم من مجرم مغتصب لطفلات في عمر الورود نتيجة لنشر مفهوم خاطيء وسيء للفضيلة والشرف…؟
يقال أن الكهنوت الديني ليس موجوداً في الإسلام والفقة الإسلامي، إنما هو واقع نلمسه جهارة ممن يحاول أن يفرض وجوده كمتمكن وعالم وباحث في الإسلام ممن يمثل خير تمثيل تيار الإسلام السياسي وطروحاته وأفكاره، وهذا الوجود يتزايد في المجتمعات العربية عامة – قد يمثل الغالبية السياسية في الكثير من الدول الإسلامية – ، يحاول دائماً التلاعب بالعواطف والأفكار من خلال تركيزه على بعض القضايا التي تمس بالشعور الغرائزي العاطفي الجمعي سواء بعض القضايا الوطنية والقومية كالصراع مع إسرائيل أو الاجتماعية التي يتمكنون من الصول والجول الكلامي فيها … إنما لا يتطرق أو ينغمس بشكل جاد في تطوير الحياة والإنسانية وسبل إنهاء الكثير من المشكلات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية، جل مشاركته فيها تكون بعبارات عاطفية فضفاضة أو أسلوب خطابي عاطفي غرائزي أو محاولة تغيير بعض الأسماء أو إضافة أوصاف لنظريات اقتصادية وبطريقة لا تسمن ولا تغني عن جوع.
لم أسمع أو أقرأ لأحد منهم مجرد محاولة لمعرفة سبب تزايد جرائم اغتصاب الأطفال مثلا، إنما يرفعون الصوت عالياً حول نسب هذه الجرائم في الغرب الكافر ليقينهم أن ما من مثل هكذا إحصائيات في بلادنا إنما لو كان الأمر ذلك لتفوقنا على ذاك الغرب اللعين بسبب عدد السكان لدينا وتزايد حالات الكبت والانحلال في مجتمعاتنا نتيجة لفماهيمهم الشكلية المغلوطة التي ينشرونها عن الفضيلة والشرف… وكذلك، لم أسمع أو أقرأ لأحد منهم عن مشروعات علمية أو حتى مساعدات عملية في موضوع النظافة والبيئة، أو حلول لمشكلات اقتصادية بطرق واقعية منطقية لا غيبية. ولم أسمع وأقرأ وأشاهد أي منهم يناقش بشكل عقلاني موضوع نسب التزايد في أعداد السكان وتأثيره السلبي على الموارد الطبيعية ونسب النمو الاقتصادي والمشكلات التعليمية والتثقيفية والاجتماعية.
أتذكر ظاهرة المصارف الإسلامية في مصر، وظاهرة تشغيل الأموال بالطريقة الإسلامية في مصر أيضاً في ثمانينات القرن الماضي ونتائجها من فضائح نصب مدوية، وما كان خلال تلك الفترة من تزايد ملحوظ لنشاط التيارات الدينية وبذات الطرق التي يتم اعتمادها في بلادنا حالياً… وأرى النتائج، فقر وتخلف وجهل في أمور الحياة والدنيا لدى غالبية الشعب، وثراء وتحكم مادي ومعنوي لدى المنادين بالفضيلة والشرف.
لا يتكلمون عن قيم العلم والعمل والوقت والإصلاح في السياسة والممارسة الإدارية والاقتصاد، ولا يستطيعوا أن يكونوا قادة يأخذوا الأمة وراءهم نحو الصلاح… بل إنهم مقودين، يمضون وراء رؤية رجل الشارع ورغباته، ويقدمون له ما يرضي له أفكاره ورغباته من جانب، ويخدرونه بالغيبيات من جانب آخر، ومن هنا سمعنا بفتوى إرضاع الكبير وزواج صغيرة السن أو الطفلة وقتل ميكى ماوس وطهارة بول الإبل وزواج المسيار والمايوه الشرعي الإسلامي والجنة للفقراء الصابرين بكل ما تحمله من أنهار وحوريات من جانب، ووجوب طاعة أولي الأمر – في الإدارة والسياسة والحياة والدين – في الجانب الآخر.
صدق الأستاذ بسام عند إيراده الشيخ محي الدين بن عربي، الذي صرخ في دمشق الشام : “إلهكم تحت قدمي” (حكاية ابن عربي المشهورة في دمشق لما جمع الناس صائحا إلهكم تحت قدمي، وكان يدوس ديناراً ذهبياً). إنه لم يقل سوى أن من يحاول أن يتحكم بالمجموع باسم الدين بعيد كل البعد عن جوهر الدين … لم ينادي بالجهل إنما نادى بالعلم، ولم ينادي بالحجاب إنما نادى بالأخلاق .. لم يطلب التحكم بالمجموع باسم الدين بل طلب إعمال العقل… وهو الشيخ ذاته الذي قال: “كل ما لا يؤنث لا يعوّل عليه” ……
العقل الذي وضعه الله سبحانه في كل خلائقه من البشر والذي قال العلماء “الغربيون” أن البشر لا يستخدمون إلا الجزء اليسير من عقلهم، ذات العقل الذي استطاع غيرنا به اختراع الكثير الكثير من الأمور التي تساعدنا في الحياة، ومنها مثلاً ما كنت قرأت منذ شهرين تقريباً بأن هناك شركة استرالية اخترعت جهازاً يوفر في استهلاك الماء اللازم للوضوء وكما هي موجبات الوضوء، وقد حصلت على آلاف الطلبات لشرائه .. مجرد خبر لا نعلم صحته من عدمها يقدم فكرة واضحة جداً عن كيفية استخدام العقل، العقل الذي استخدمه الغير للانتفاع المادي من أعدادا هائلة من البشر بسبب إيقاف عقلها عن العمل، كما هو الحال في المنتج الشرق آسيوي الذي ورد بلادنا حيث نسمع آية من الذكر الحكيم عند إدارة مفتاح تشغيل المركبات الآلية “سبحان من سخر لنا هذا”.
وبالفعل سبحانه تعالى الذي وضع العقل في عموم خلائقه من الناس منهم من استفاد منه باستعماله ومنهم من عطله بوضعه حواجز أمام استخدامه.
هل هذا هو الدين …؟ أم أنه وسيلة مثلى من وسائل التحكم بالمجموع باسم الدين ..؟ وباسم المفهوم الديني ..؟
لم تكثر القيود حول المرأة..؟ هل أنها بحاجة إلى تحديد هويتها في المجتمع ..؟ في الواقع يتعامل الإسلامويون مع المرأة كشيء منفعل ليس كشخص فاعل، شيء بلا شعور أو رغبة أو عقل، وإنما لحم لمتعة الذكور وتلبية رغباتهم، أما كل تلك الشعارات التي يرفعونها فهي أكاذيب قد لا يصدقها حتى المجانين .
هوية المرأة موجودة، وهي فاعلة وحقيقة، ليست بحاجة إلى من يعيد وأدها باسم الفضيلة والأخلاق، وباسم الغزو الثقافي، وباسم الدين .. فالحياة تسير إلى الأمام ولا يمكن لها العودة للخلف، كما أن الفضيلة والشرف في الذات وفي التربية الأسرية والمجتمعية وفي مجتمع متقدم متطور مثقف، وليس في الشكل… ومن كان لا ينظر إلا إلى محطات فضائية محددة بذاتها فإنه يعاني من مركب نقص.
شكراً للأستاذ فيصل القاسم لإتاحته الفرصة لعلماني إنساني بتوضيح جزء من أفكار يؤمن بها، وبأن الدين لله والوطن للجميع ..
وشكراً للأستاذ بسام لأنه أثبت أن العقل مفتاح الحياة، وأن المرأة ليست نصف المجتمع بل أنها أمّ المجتمع.

http://all4syria.info/content/view/12849/161/

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August 19th, 2009, 8:47 pm

 

87. Shami said:

Dear Bro Nour,i took notes of your opinion regarding Antun Saadeh principles and your understanding of this ideology, i will try to explain my own vision in the future ,as otw ,i’m very busy these days,but for an other reason (but who knows?) ,as a newly engaged man.So you understand these things related to love dont allow me to be very talkative on Syria comment.

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August 20th, 2009, 2:18 am

 

88. Shami said:

Dear Shai,i like your intellectual honesty ,i will be glad to have more neighbors as you.God Bless you and alikes.
Also,as Syrian i wish for( Inshallah )the syrian jews that they would return in their homeland Syria.

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August 20th, 2009, 2:41 am

 

89. Shai said:

Shami,

Thank you for your kind words. If only our people could learn about one another, as we do here on SC. We’d have peace within a month…

I know for fact that there are Syrian Jews that would go back home if there was peace between our two countries. It will happen, in’shalla.

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August 20th, 2009, 7:49 am

 

90. Yossi (AKA Rumyal) said:

Shai,

Very good analysis. I agree with it and with its conclusions.

As I told you privately before, I listened a few weeks ago to Thomas Mitchell talking about his book comparing between North Ireland and Israel/Palestine. He referenced a conflict management expert named William Zartman who said that there are three necessary conditions for conflict resolution:

1. The parties need to be represented by a legitimate and strong leadership.
2. There is a solution that provides the sides with what they need (if not what they want…)
3. The stalemate is too hurtful.

You are talking mostly about the second necessary point: the parties must go down the painful process of recognizing what they actually need, versus what they want… Since this is a painful process, it only happens when the status quo is more painful, which is not the situation yet, definitely not for Israel, but also not for the PA or Hamas leadership.

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August 20th, 2009, 3:31 pm

 

91. Alex said:

I agree Yossi … The Israelis (leadership and most people) are not going to feel much pain from the continued conflict any time soon.

The Palestinian people are definitely suffering from the occupation, but thanks to Israel’s persistent (or increasing) application of painful measures into Palestinians’ lives, many Palestinians learned to live with pain … “pain” for them ir felt at a much higher threshold…

The Palestinian leadership (Fatah) will not feel much pain … they are corrupt.

Many Hamas leaders do get regularly assassinated by Israel. One can imagine that is painful for few minutes or seconds .. but they anticipate heavenly rewards after becoming martyrs.

So … if the Israelis (leadership and people) are not going to be subjected to pain, if Fatah leaders will continue to be received as respectable state men when they visit the US, Europe and Moderate Arab countries, if the Palestinian people got used to pain, and if Hamas leaders in Gaza do not mind Israel sending them to heaven … then only a minority will be desperate for an early peace.

Another point, when comparing between North Ireland and Israel/Palestine we need to recognize the differences between Middle Easterners and the Irish.

If moving from “what I want” to “what I need” required pain, .. moving away from “what preserves my dignity” is harder … the weaker side will have to suffer much more pain to accept to compromise its dignity.

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August 20th, 2009, 7:00 pm

 

92. Shai said:

Yossi, Alex,

The problem is even-more complex, because we Israelis have difficulties differentiating between the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the individual conflicts we’ve had with other neighbors. The going mentality here is one of “Us versus The Arabs”. Most Israelis today probably view the Israeli-Syrian conflict as no less insoluble than the Israeli-Palestinian one. And everything is bunched together, disorganized under an umbrella of emotions – fear, suspicion, distrust, and hatred.

One of the main reasons I’m advocating so strongly for engaging Syria and resolving our conflict with her, is not only because I believe it is by far the easiest to resolve, but because I can foresee a direct contribution to the slow but undoubtedly required dissipation of some of those emotions as they exist and are targeted at the collective (the Arabs in general, not specific groups or conflicts). If a comprehensive solution does not seem to be “just around the corner” (and clearly it is not), we must differentiate between the conflicts, tackle and resolve each one separately, and force a minimization of generalizations, followed by pragmatic focus on our real demands of ourselves and of others.

It is impossible to make progress when Israelis still believe the Arabs want to throw us to the sea, or while Arabs still believe Israel wants to conquer all of their lands. We must “prove” that neither is the case, perhaps one step at a time, rather than all-at-once.

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August 20th, 2009, 8:31 pm

 

93. Alex said:

Shai

I like your logic, but I still see similar difficulties on the Syrian front: If the Israeli people and leaders do not feel the pain due to continued conflict with Syria … why would they compromize?

Also while we are discussing psychologoical factors, on the Palestinian front … Arbas feel that Israel loves the divide an conquer approach(which has been true in the past for sure) .. If Syria is to settle alone its conflict with Israel, Israel will still need to show with solid actions that it is not planning to isolate the Palestinians and offer them much less after they are all alone after a Syrian Israeli agreement.

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August 20th, 2009, 9:35 pm

 

94. Shai said:

Alex,

I’ve unfortunately had to agree with you and Norman on this issue of pain, at times when it seems Israelis simply are not fearful of the alternative. When buffoon deputy-Foreign MInisters speak “on behalf” of Israel in such demeaning fashion towards our neighbors (with whom he pretends he wants peace), or when National Security “Advisers” suggest Israel must stay on the Golan because of the scenery and the wine, then indeed I do fear that we’re suffering from intoxication of power. Ofer Shelach of Ma’ariv recently suggested we’re living in 1967-73 once again. And I still hope he’s wrong.

It is a legitimate question to ask – are Israelis ready to give up on land only after they feel pain, and pay a very heavy price? One can argue “yes”, and use the 1973 October war as an example. How else would Menachem Begin have passed his proposal in Knesset just a few years later?

But I still remember the days of Rabin, not that long ago. And, despite the fact that Barak’s intentions are questioned, I still remember the Israeli public’s reaction to his victory over Netanyahu. And in both cases, the Israeli public was more ready for peace than perhaps ever before, or since. You might suggest it’s because of the pain we felt with the suicide bombings. But I believe it originated not out of fear, but out of hope. I don’t know if Madrid or Oslo did it, or whether Rabin or Barak did, but something had an effect on most Israelis then. I think Barak’s irresponsible gamble on Peace with Syria and the Palestinians, by going to early elections before completing any of his moves (the only exception being the withdrawal from Lebanon), was the beginning of sharp reversal we are witnessing today. Just look at how many seats Labor had in those days, 3 times as much as today!

Is it possible to change Israeli minds without inflicting more pain? I’d certainly like to think so. Words can sometimes be no less powerful than violence. And for Egypt, Sadat proved that with a few short sentences he can achieve what he couldn’t in 5 different wars.

But you’re right – there must also be someone on the Israeli side who’s truly ready for Peace. I can’t say that at the moment enough of us are. We must work hard to change that fact, if indeed it is true.

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August 20th, 2009, 9:57 pm

 

95. Yossi said:

Alex, Shai,

“If Syria is to settle alone its conflict with Israel, Israel will still need to show with solid actions that it is not planning to isolate the Palestinians and offer them much less after they are all alone after a Syrian Israeli agreement.”

This is not something that can be codified into a peace agreement. Even if Israel did commit to a certain process with the Palestinians, it can always fizzle out without Israel taking the blame (as was in the Egyptian-Israeli case). I think that Syria should assume if and when it enters an agreement with Israel that it will not be able to extract any concrete obligations from Israel towards the Palestinians. Is a full peace deal along these lines possible? I think that potentially not, and that goes back to Shai’s concern that things are “bunched up together”. Well, of course they are because the Palestinians and the Syrians are the same people so of course they are reluctant to deal with Israeli separately. That goes back to condition #1 in Zartman’s theory—legitimacy. In the case of Syria and the Palestinians a leader who will put these constituencies across diametrically opposing interest lines cannot be considered legitimate. The question for me is whether there is something less than a full peace treaty that is possible with Syria. i.e., does it have to be all or nothing.

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August 20th, 2009, 10:07 pm

 

96. Alex said:

Shai,

I agree. Getting more Israelis ready for peace (and the price of peace) will require three parallel approaches:

1) Some Israelis who are feeling too confident will need to worry a bit more about their future (sounds bad, but there is no ther way)

2) Some Israelis who are worried about the hostile intentions of Arabs need to be convinced (by Arabs, and by Israeli leaders) that it ain’t so bad.

3) Israel needs a visionary leader … there is no one there since Rabin.

Yossi,

I also agree with you … After Camp David, Sadat told the Egyptian people that he convinced Israel to settle the Palestinian and Syrian conflicts too. Instead Prime minsiter Begin annexed the Golan two years later and he invaded Lebanon and destroyed the power of the PLO sending them to Tunis.

This time Israel will need to start with something before Syria signs … like a final halt to all settlement activities and a clear recognition of the Arab peace plan for example.

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August 20th, 2009, 11:23 pm

 

97. norman said:

Shai,

I am glad you agree with me and Alex , actually i like to second all what Alex said and add that Syria will not sign , i believe , without a treaty with Palestinians , we Syrians will always fear that Israel is going to force the Palestinians into submission , which i would do if i am Israel and take advantage of them , it does not make sense to do anything else ,

yossi , Shai ,

About Sadat , it is as you said Shai, it was after the 1973 war when Israel felt that it was losing everything and was saved by the US .

only full peace will save (( One region , One future )) , anything else is going to be just an excuse for the Radicals to carry the mantle for more wars.

And that is my take .

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August 21st, 2009, 2:18 am

 

98. Shai said:

Norman,

Let’s consider an imaginary situation for a minute:

1. Suddenly realizing that the Palestinian track is stuck, Netanyahu decides to go talk to the Syrians, offering the entire Golan. The Syrians are ready to sit with him.

2. In the talks, Syria makes it clear that for it to sign a peace agreement at the White House lawn, Israel must also make real progress with the Palestinians – not mere “promises”, not mere “memorandums of understandings”, but real physical progress on the ground.

3. Netanyahu, unlike Begin, responds with an honest answer “I simply cannot guarantee any such progress in the near future.” He goes on to say that he does not have the political power to concede even a single inch of land to the Palestinians, while they are not represented by a single, strong authoritative body that can deliver, not only in the WB, but also in Gaza. He adds that he believes Syria can play an important role in helping bridge the gaps between Fatah and Hamas, but that this will take time. He believes he can deliver on the Golan, not on E. Jerusalem.

4. What do the Syrians tell him? Sorry, but we can’t? Not until you close a deal with the Palestinians? Or, well, we’ll start normalizing relations only at a rate comparable to your progress with the Palestinians, and the same for changing our military relationships with Iran and Hezbollah?

You see, I believe Assad has already ran this through, and figured he must try to get back the Golan. That while it is true that the “type” of Peace (real peace, cold peace, no peace) may be determined by the Palestinian issue, he cannot wait for that to be resolved.

If he had to make the choice, get back the Golan “tomorrow morning”, or wait for Fatah and Hamas to join hands, and then for an Israeli leader that can convince his people to withdraw from the West Bank and enable the creation of a Palestinian state, Assad would choose the first.

There is a contradiction between what you and every Arab would say to us Israelis, which is “Guys, there ain’t gonna be Peace until you leave lands that are not yours, until you end the occupation and subjugation of our Palestinian brothers, until you prove your peaceful intentions on the ground, not with words…”, and what Syria may end up doing if the Golan is offered to her on a silver platter.

So practically speaking, what do you recommend Assad say to Netanyahu, should the unimaginable happen? (Assuming Assad does not want Bibi to turn away saying “Sorry, Mr. President, I guess we’ll have to wait then…”)

Btw, looking at it from Israel’s point of view, imagine Israel would have said to Sadat “Thank you for the offer, but we can only make peace with you once the entire Arab world is in the deal, not a minute before…” I know what you’re going to say, but for a moment imagine Sadat WAS put in that position. Clearly, there’d be no peace today, and maybe we would be after another 3 terrible wars between Israel and its neighbors. Maybe far more terrible than the 1973 one.

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August 21st, 2009, 5:31 am

 

99. norman said:

Shai,

i will write more later , but Syria is not Egypt,

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August 21st, 2009, 11:56 am

 

100. Syria Comment » Archives » France Leads the West out of Bush Think and into Engagement with Syria said:

[...] the Euro-Med Agreement, returning the region to relations as they were before the invasion of Iraq. Holland had been resisting a final reconciliation with Syria in the name of human rights. But the notion that political [...]

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September 9th, 2009, 6:22 pm

 

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