Press release

Dec 23rd, 2012

The Syrian Dialogue Project

Two years after the start of the crisis in Syria, it is evident that radicals from both sides have taken the rein, rejecting dialogue, and insisting on controlling the direction, pace, and outcome of the long-awaited change, all in such a momentous period in Syria's history.

In response to the absence, or exclusion, of moderate voices on both sides, a group of Syrians decided to work on a national initiative to establish a platform for the currently quiet center of Syrian politics; the "silent majority".

Phase one of the project was dedicated to building a comprehensive list of the most relevant factors behind the Syrian crisis; A list of the most vivid or common ambitions, hopes and fears for the Syrian people.

The project offered a strict methodology in which two groups, representing moderates from the two sides of the Syrian crisis - proponents of evolutionary or revolutionary change - were invited to contribute their different views to the list of factors. The two groups included a number of accomplished political analysts, activists, journalists, artists, movie makers, and academics. This helped reveal a variety of often fresh views that did not take the place they deserve in the two prominent narratives of the two sides of the conflict.

After a list of 74 items was proposed by group members representing the two sides of the conflict, another group, representing the center, voted on each item in the list to help sort it by "significance", "urgency" and "feasibility" scales.

The two teams worked to express the hopes and fears of the Syrian people, and propose outlines for a more comprehensive dialogue aimed at finding a solution that preserves national coexistence and creates opportunities for a better political future. The outcome of this dialogue is not intended to be a final solution or an answer to all issues that ail Syria, but rather as a contribution to a desired, more comprehensive, national dialogue, and a project that casts light at all issues that participants deem essential. Participants have put the outcome of their dialogue at the disposal of all politicians, analysts, and stakeholders in the Syrian crisis, as well as the Syrian people itself.

The primary outcome of this dialogue pointed out that the majority of moderate opinions stopped existing in the raging media, and that many Syrians don’t feel represented on the ground, mainly because they do not believe that the anger caused by tyranny or the hope to build a more vital and diverse political life should mean this radical division between the two sides that are dominating the Syrian political scene today.

A majority of participants expressed their belief that after about two years of conflict, survival has become the number one concern for Syrians. This was the result of widespread violence and the collapse of security and economy.

Issues such as national identity and Syria long-term regional policy objectives were also prominent, despite not being tackled in the media. This shows a serious defect in the process of building public opinion. Opinions expressed during the dialogue voiced a serious concern that Syria could witness a sectarian-based division of power, which will move the political life from tyranny to a pre-state model of sectarian and ethnic loyalty. Participants insisted on citizenship, and rejected all sectarian or ethnic division of power. They also affirmed the importance of preserving human dignity and rights.

Participants expressed a tendency to discuss issues not yet discussed in depth, such as the role of the army in the post-conflict Syria, the future role of President Bashar Al Assad, and even protecting the environment. The participants linked important issues such as personal safety to deeper issues, such as national conciliation and the need to debate radically different economic policy alternatives for Syria, as well as building a legal framework for a democratic and diverse state.

This project is open for everyone to participate, as it aims at creating a common ground where all Syrians interested in a solution to the crisis can meet.

To read all topics and participate in dialogue, please visit:

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