Based on its vision of the necessity of perpetuating a culture of dialogue among all segments of society, and as part of its strategy in community development and peacebuilding, Nextep organization conducted a concentrated dialogue session for the residents of Deir ez-Zur (the largest city in eastern Syria) and Qamishli (city in northeastern Syria), under the title “Mechanisms of recovery and coexistence : Possible ways” on 10/30 2021, via Google Meet.
The session was attended by 12 people from various societal and community groups, including media professionals, civil activists, academics, as well as influential community figures, in both Deir ez-Zur and Qamishli, to exchange views and ideas. Discussion included the concept of recovery and coexistence between Syrians, the role of effective civil communication channels between Syrians inside and outside the country, as well as the most appropriate ways to achieve social recovery and coexistence, whether through social justice or tolerance.
The session began with the audience’s views of the concept of coexistence, if it constitutes a hope for resolving the Syrian crisis, and the extent to which it can be relied upon. The participants’ opinions varied between considering coexistence as the only way to bridge the gap formed between Syrians in the wake of the Syrian war that extended for a decade, and that the solution is to enhance societal cohesion and fraternity between the various components of the Syrian people, while others saw it necessary that the young lead initiatives aimed at community recovery and promoting the concept of civil peace.
Regarding the role of civil communication channels in promoting recovery and coexistence, different opinions were offered, as some saw that the media played a role in reporting the suffering of Syrians abroad and the existence of a link between the various groups, compared to their role before the outbreak of the Syrian war, where Syrians were not aware of the existence of the diversity of the communities within the country, but now the media has become the link between Syrian society inside and outside the country’s borders, in addition to the role of civil society organizations in strengthening communication and opening channels of communication between Syrian societal groups and introducing them to each other, through relevant initiatives and activities, after the former regimes played a negative role in the dispersal and separation of different Syrian communities.
The attendees also touched on the role of Syrians abroad, whether there is a negative role of some of them in spreading the culture of hatred among Syrians and in strengthening the social disconnection among them. Also discussed was the positive role of Syrians abroad in conveying the beautiful image of Syria, with its various sects and promoting a culture of dialogue. Further discussion was had regarding the acceptance of the other, in addition to the financial support provided by Syrians abroad to those who remained at home and who suffer from the deteriorating economic situation in the country.
Views varied on the optimal form of communication mechanisms, whether it should be through various media and through concentrated dialogue sessions conducted by civil society organizations, with the participation of large segments of community groups, or by targeting community institutions (family, schools) by including these concepts in educational curricula.
Regarding ways of recovery and coexistence, opinions were divided into two parts. Some saw the need to hold accountable everyone who had a hand in the Syrian war, while others stressed the need for tolerance, which is the shortest way to end the suffering of Syrians.
The session put forth a set of recommendations, the most important of which was an intensification of the dialogue sessions that are held by civil society organizations to spread the culture of dialogue and instill confidence among Syrians.
Nextep organization holds a series of dialogue sessions in the cities of north and east Syria (NES), to discuss various societal issues, and to reach outputs that would contribute to the analysis of these issues and finding solutions to them.