Karam Nachar - Moderator: Rana Issa
While the Syrian war seems to embody all that is complex, alien, and thus incomprehensible about the Middle East, the five-year-old brutal conflict can in fact be explained through a set of global historical factors that emanate from the world made by Europe in the wake of World War One. This talk will shed light on some of these global factors and their local manifestations, all while emphasising their inherently contradictory nature: destabilising Syrian politics to the point of disaster, while generating much cultural angst and productivity.
Thomas Pierret, Bjørn Olav Utvik, Marcell Shehwaro - Moderator: Bendik Sørvig
Persistent claims that the Syrian regime is “non-sectarian” result from a failure to distinguish between sectarianism as an explicit ideology, and sectarianism as an often unspoken technique of power. Whereas the Assad family has generally purported to act in the name of “national unity”, and accordingly minimised discursive expressions of sectarianism, its actual practices throughout the last five decades have consisted in the systematic manipulation of sectarian divides for the purpose of regime survival.
Mazen Darwish. - Moderator: Åsne Seierstad
Mazen Darwish, one of Syria's most prominent human rights activists, will give a speech about his experience in Syria before and after the revolution as a human rights advocate. Afterwards, Darwish will be interviewed by the Norwegian journalist and author Åsne Seierstad.
Robin Yassin-Kassab, Leila Al Shami, Bendik Sørvig - Moderator: Bissan Fakih
The idea of a Syria International intends to refocus attention on the agency of Syrians in their struggle and consequently to demand international solidarity and acknowledgement of their rightful and just cause.
This panel assesses the isolation of Syrian civilians by identifying those who neglect them, as well as those rare people who are determined to support them. The intent is on identifying the possibilities for building on existing Syria International solidarity movements around the world, as well as on questioning the extent to which humanitarian and political efforts to support Syria’s civilian population can be improved and augmented.
Various speakers, Music by Ziad Khawam, Art Performance by Razan Sabbagh
The evening will open by so-called “lightning talks” by the different speakers about their work, passion and activism. These talks are meant to inspire us to imagine Syria differently. The audience is invited to use the open space to engage with the speakers, not only to ask questions, but also to debate, tell stories and identify new possibilities. Syrian artist, Razan Sabbagh will afterwards have a visual arts performance with some action painting, fused to the music of the Qanun player Ziad Khawam. The vibrant space counts on your interaction through shared reflections, conversations and live music.