Nextep organization held a focused dialogue session in the ‘Syrian-Syrian dialogue’ project. The session was titled ‘Identity and Reconciliation- Identity and Mutual Benefit’. The dialogue took place in Raqqa (a city in Northeast Syria) on December 25, 2021.
The session was attended by 19 people including journalists, academics and civil activists, in order to discuss the session’s topics.
The session started with a discussion introducing some of the session’s relevant terms including identity, affiliation and loyalty, and their differences. Most of the opinions stressed that the identity is changing according to circumstances and stability. Also addressed was the narrowing of the affiliations’ network vast network due to instability and the ongoing conflict for several years.
Some attendees submitted that the ongoing war in Syria and the exploitation of the conflict by the international community may cancel or weaken some identities and affiliations. Also noted was potential for weakened affiliations due to exploitation of any given group affiliation in favor of another group.
When it came to the relationship between identity, common public benefit, and interests, the opinions varied; one of opinions was that the participation of Syrians in public interest in the present time is the beginning of the end of the Syrian war. The participants also saw the necessity of moving from primarily local benefits into a more comprehensive identity with the aim of achieving more public interest.
Some participants emphasized that in order to reach public interest, we need large patriotic institutions specialized in running dialogues, and to look closely at who is managing them, as satisfaction is absent among Syrians.
The session resulted in a number of recommendations including the necessity of being able to manage diversity and the necessity of formulating a social contract by the hands of Syrians. Other suggestions included activating human rights’ covenants, the role of oversight institutions, civil society organizations and community participation. The participants also recommended spreading awareness to ensure the primacy of public interest over self-interest, promoting the culture of law and order among the community and working on limiting the conflicts between the different components.