This 9-points plan (click here for Arabic version) represents my own little contribution, offered through the auspices of the Tharwa Foundation, to ongoing efforts aimed at resolving the conflict in y home-country: Syria. As a peace plan, it may not represent the early expectations of the revolutionaries, not to mention my own, or any one side of this conflict for that matter. But parties to the Syrian conflict have to prepare themselves for settling for much less than they initially wanted and sought. The struggle for democracy is a complicated long-term process that requires continuous readjustments. It might begin with a protest movement or a popular revolution, but it does not end with it. Politics, no matter how derided and cynical it seems sometimes, remains a necessity.
The complicated issues related to the shape of future Syria and the nature and scope of the transitional justice process are differed to a later stage, due to the intricate calculations involved on all sides. The current plan merely aims to enable parties to the conflict, domestic, regional and international, to agree on a longer-term truce (perhaps as long as 5 years), while they negotiate a final settlement that might involve talks and compromises regarding developments in other countries and even other regions of the world, not only Syria. In other words, the idea is to exchange a violent long-term conflict for a long-term political process, no matter how complicated it is bound to be, in order to ease the suffering of the Syrian people.
Ammar was born in Damascus, Syria in 1966. When he was 17, Ammar studied English for three months in the United Kingdom. At 18, he spent a year at Moscow University before moving to Wisconsin in 1986. Two years later, he moved to Los Angeles, California, then, returned to Wisconsin in 1990 to study history. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point in 1992.
Ammar Abdulhamid, a Syrian democracy activist who exchanged radical Islamism for the Federalist Papers after studying in the United States, is featured in the Freedom Collection and recently shared his story with educators from across North Texas. “I don’t know how many people can say the Federalist Papers actually inspired them to quit their fanatical sort of outlook on life,” he says, “but to me … that was really empowering.”… Like Natan Sharansky a generation ago, the stories of men and women like Phyoe Phyoe, Joseph, Ammar, and Dalel keep the skeptics’ view in doubt today. Even in the Middle East, where the democracy deficit is the starkest in the world and the immediate outlook is bleak, there’s no doubt that the universal tug of freedom is present there as well.
Amanda Schnetzer is the director of the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.
Jon Stewart’s monologue tonight was an impassioned, frustrated meditation on the Charleston shooting and other recent tragedies. “I didn’t do my job today,” he said. “I’ve got nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds, because of what happened in South Carolina.”
If Americans still insist on dealing cynically and apathetically with one of the country’s oldest and most infamous and painful problems, namely racism, why should we find their indifference regarding the tragic and mind-numbing developments in Syria, or any number of conflict zones around the world, surprising?