Fears raised over role of intellectuals in post-Assad Syria

Reuters, Thursday 16 May 2013

In new issue of Damascus cultural magazine, Syrian writers express concern over their marginalisation in post-Assad Syria, noting the lack of financial resources to support the revolution


The new issue of the London based cultural magazine Dimashq (Damascus), has been released under the title(The Syrian Revolution and the Arab Uprisings: A critical perspective) with contributions of 17 Arab and foreign writers on the fate of the Arab Spring and a special focus on Syria, where fears of marginalising culture and intellectuals in the post-Assad era is a pressing issue.

Syrian writer, Nouri Jarrah, the chief editor of the magazine said Syrians are very concerned of the bloody turn the Syrian revolution took and also concerned about the mysterious relation between intellectuals, opposition leaders and politicians. Jarrah said there is a gap between the intellectuals, who promote the revolution and the Syrian opposition leaders, as most of the Syrian intellectuals are living abroad with no financial resources that could allow them to present or organise independent cultural activities to support the revolution.

"Except for rare contributions by Syrian businessmen in supporting intellectual events and activities, the Syrian intellectuals are incapable of having a healthy distance between themselves and the opposition entities Inside Syria the thing that jeopardizes their independence," Jarrah said "opposition politicians are not ready to deal with intellectuals as independent persons and there are many fears that they will be marginalised and excluded from the post-Assad era, the thing that will lead to a reproduction of the old authoritarian relation between intellectual and the rulers."

Jarrah wondered why the Syrian opposition did not try to meet the cultural and spiritual needs of the Syrian refugees in their shelters, deeming that as a sign of marginalising culture. He refused any claims to halt the critical function of the intellectual in his society in the times of revolutions and social change.

Damascus magazine is issued on a monthly basis, by the Damascus Institution for Studies and Publishing, which is based in London. The new issue consists of 450 pages and comprises articles by Syrian renowned writers like, Burhan Ghalioun, Ibrahim Lagbinn, Ahmed Anis and Farag Biriqdar in addition to Palestinian and Lebanese writers.

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