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.
As prejudice and fear make objective facts irrelevant, how can we still manage our differences?
When has truth ever mattered where people’s prejudices were involved and their sense of security was on the line? Fear and prejudice trump all other considerations, and since they are perennial traits of our common humanity, the challenge is never about finding ways to eradicate them but to cope with their too logical consequence, namely: the irrelevance of truth, of facts which, no matter how objective they happen to be, often fail to alter our perceptions of unfolding events. Indeed, we are condemned forever to see and understand things differently. This is our curse and, on occasions, it may also be a blessing. But no matter how we view or choose to deal with it, this is always our destiny.
In the case of Charlie Hebdo, the facts were clear: Charlie was irreverent in its treatment of all that is allegedly holy. If some of its critics thought that its editors and cartoonists were motivated by hate and that they have singled out Islam, a close examination of Charlie’s coverage over the years unequivocally fails to bear out this claim.
Have Muslim organizations in the U.S. issued any guidelines to Mosques and Islamic centers on how to deal with troubled youths and extremist elements who are trying to recruit in their midst? Have they created outreach programs to Muslim families dealing with radicalized youths in an attempt to help them come back to the mainstream? Have they set up special camps that can help in these matters? Are they providing specialized training to Imams on how to deal with these and other related issues? Have they created educational guidelines on how certain issues related to Islamic teachings, such as Jihad and Dhimmitude, among others, should be breached?