The Emergence of the Political Voice of Syria's Civil Society from within the Non-Violent Movements of the Syrian Uprising

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Tamara al Om


There is a tendency in the mainstream media to frame the situation in Syria as a one dimensional conflict. Assaad al-Achi points out how “war is much more sensational than a nonviolent movement, (…), that is what sells” and as such that is what is overwhelmingly depicted. As a result, with the absence of pivotal elements of the struggle on the ground, the complexity of the situation is obscured. In many ways, this dominant narrative leads us to what Yassin Al Haj Saleh highlights as an ‘unknowing’ of Syria and its people by “the West and the world at large” which makes “the population invisible, indeed non-existent.” Everything that is Syrian, in essence, is absent. Its inner dimensions, its people, are passed over in silence. For Al Haj Saleh, the conditions of life, education, health, culture, art, structures of rule, distribution of wealth, stories of men and women, their lives, faces and names. And issues of justice, freedom, human dignity, and the rule of law also remain outside of this narrative. (...) A change of approach is necessary in order for us to become visible, for us to exist.

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