Civil activism: „Art of Surviving“– this is how Syrian activists in Douma called their attempt to use the remains of bombs as music instruments. Syria deeply shows the video of the activist who built guitars out of weapons.
After Ahmed Moaz Al-Khatib declared his withdrawal from the Syrian National Coalition, the general assembly decided that it will not accept his withdrawal.
In Inside Syria Al Jazeera tries to shed light on the disputes within the opposition which have come to the forefront when Ghassan Hitto was elected transitional prime minister.
As the BBC reports, the founder of the Free Syrian Army Colonel Riad Al-Assad was wounded badly when he was in the town of Mayadeen. His leg had to be amputated in a hospital in Turkey. Khatib judged this attack as an attempt “to assassinate the free leaders of Syria”. Both figures, Khatib and Riad Al-Assad also judged foreign powers for wanting to control the Syrian Opposition and make them obey to foreign wishes.
Meanwhile Aljazeera said that the UN decided to reduce its staff in Damascus due to security reasons. Most of the overall 100 foreign personnel are going to be relocated to Beirut and Cairo. At the same time Aljazeera announces that there is going to be a summit of the Arab League. There, Syrian opposition is prepared to take over Syria’s seat. Moaz Al-Khatib announced to give a speech despite his decision to withdraw from his position as Head of the National Coalition.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu discusses in the guardian about “the failure of our so-called international community.” In that, he criticizes that “power plays” gained more importance than the actual life of Syrians. The UN who worked under the Syrian authorities to provide humanitarian help is judged as half-hearted. Desmond Tutu calls for a greater attention to Syrian lives. We should not act as if their lives are less worth than ours.
Thinking of the lives of Syrians, it becomes clear that especially Syrian women face different hardships than men. ‘The Star’ reports about the kind of new business in finding rich, preferably Saudi grooms for poor Syrian girls. Being in desperate need, Syrian families need to marry their daughters off in exchange of a marriage fee. In some cases, it is the daughters themselves who accept “to sacrifice themselves.” Um Majed is the woman who sets off these marriages. In fact, it is also the safety of a new home and a caring husband for their daughters that drives families in miserable conditions to marry their daughters off. As temporary unions and marriages can be justified under Islamic law, these practices are also called “religiously sanctioned prostitution”. What Um Majed gains out of brokering the marriages? Food packages.
In a symbolic step, oppositional Alawites are calling for fellow Alawites who are still part of the Syrian regime to step down. This appeal goes especially to the Alawites who are Officers in the Syrian Military. Because Assad tried to hold the Alawite community as a “hostage”, it seems to be crucial for the Alawites to publicly disassociate themselves from Assad. Reuters reports on these efforts and an Allawite conference taking place in Cairo by the Alawite community. The Conference “will affirm Alawite commitment to national unity”.
In openDemocracy, Nizar Ghanem warns against a neoliberal approach to Syria’s post war reconstruction as it could lead to “a second destruction of the soul, character and material organization of one of the oldest urban spaces on this planet.” Syria’s economy under the Baath party can be best described as crony capitalism. With the liberalization policies, more and more state property was privatized. The main question in post-war Syria will be: “Who gets what in the after-math of the Syrian uprising?” As foreign investment is needed to rebuild the country, the question is if it should be also foreign companies who should profit from the situation. Recalling the consequences of the liberalization policies implemented in post-war Iraq, Ghanem states that it is important to strengthen the central state. Neo-liberal policies would lead to further fragmentation in a post-war country. As there are already Turkish and Qatari companies eager to present reconstruction plans, it is fundamental to invest in the productivity of the Syrian economy with the prospect of long-term job opportunities. Consequentially, sources of funding need to be diverse and not dominated by one power. However, the reconstruction plans of the Syrian National Council is said to not meet these challenges. Ghanem recalls that it would be a tragedy if we would witness a second destruction by multinational companies in Syria’s urban spaces.