Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Thursday, September 29, 2022

National Conference of Syrians in America held in Washington DC

Credit: George Tuma

A group of activists in the United States worked for a year in planning a National Conference of Syrians in America in Washington DC at the Marriott Crystal City Hotel. At last, the conference was held on September 9 – 10, 2022. 

This meeting was open to any Syrian who believes in a pluralistic, democratic Syria based on equal citizenship, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

Over the course of two days, the participants discussed and debated, some in person and some over Zoom what they believe to be prerequisite principles needed to found a free and Democratic Syria. 

The attendees also discussed issues such as the national identity as it is a birth right that cannot be canceled, the societal identity, and the secular and civil state. They also talked about citizenship and the difference between the regime’s army and the Syrian army.

The end result of the two-day conference was the formation of a National Charter of 10 principles. 

The organizers of this meeting hope that all Syrians who believe in freedom and justice will join forces to bring about a resolution to the Syrian crisis and reach their goals of overthrowing the dictatorship of the tyrannical Assad regime in their quest to achieve justice.

The initiators were subjected to campaigns that questioned their backgrounds, their efforts, and their goals

Hassan Alaswad

Hassan Alaswad, Syrian lawyer living in Germany who is also Secretary General of the Syrian Council for Change has helped to plan the conference that he attended on Zoom. Alaswad told SYRIAWISE: “I think that the efforts made by all attendees are commendable and go in the right direction. The participants are to be credited for their quiet work for more than a year and their consultations with a wide spectrum of Syrians. The initiators were subjected to campaigns that questioned their backgrounds, their efforts, and their goals, and this is something we are accustomed to in the Syrian case. However, this will not weaken their support and will not stop them from their good efforts.”

I think it was a good start that should be further advanced and built upon

Hussein Assaf

Hussein Assaf, a Political Delegate for Syrian National Assembly, attended the meeting. He told SYRIAWISE that he appreciated all endeavors, adding that “while there could have been more planning and campaigning done which would have brought more Syrian Americans to the conference, it still is a good opportunity for collaborative effort for a better Syria. I think it was a good start that should be further advanced and built upon.”

“needs significant legal and political amendments”

Rasha Alahdab

The conference was not well-received by all Syrians in the USA. It had its critics. Rasha Alahdab, a Syrian lawyer and human rights defender, commented on the conference by saying that its document “needs significant legal and political amendments,” adding that she “wishes all Syrians success in their meeting,” stressing that as Syrians “we must unite at this challenging stage and achieve justice for all the Syrian.”

I was disappointed that former political figures who could have enriched the conference and given a bright image of the Syrian community in America had not been invited

Ayman Abdel Nour

SYRIAWISE contacted Ayman Abdel Nour, a Syrian politician, media figure, and President of Syrian Christians for Dialogue, who did not attend the conference, to comment on it. Abdel Nour said that the “Syrian community in America is one of the most important Syrian communities all over the world. Personally, I was disappointed that former political figures who could have enriched the conference and given a bright image of the Syrian community in America had not been invited. As it was, only 17 people were present in Washington DC.”

an expanded follow-up committee has emerged from the conference whose mission is to work on distributing the National Charter among all Syrians

Tarek Abou Ghazala

SYRIAWISE asked Dr. Tarek Abou Ghazala, a Syrian cardiologist who lives in Virginia and one of the organizers of the conference on the next step after the completion of the National Charter. Dr. Abou Ghazala said that “an expanded follow-up committee has emerged from the conference whose mission is to work on distributing the National Charter among all Syrians and communicating with those in the diaspora, and at home, about organizing a comprehensive international conference for Syrians worldwide next year.”

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