Syrians must aim for decentralised rule to save their diverse and multi-ethnic society from years of conflict and nationalist misrule, intellectuals from the country told the northern Syrian Hawar News Agency.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, when President Bashar al-Assad’s Arab nationalist Baathist government brutally repressed protests.
In the ensuing 11-year conflict, Assad’s forces have wrested back control of most of the country, but unity is a far-off dream in the deeply divided land.
Syrian intellectual and writer Hassan Younis pointed out that Syria has more than eighteen different sects, ethnicities and spiritual groups, and that decentralised rule would provide common ground for these diverse groups.
“Decentralisation will save Syrian society and give the Syrian people the rights they need to ensure self-government,” said Younis, adding that this would save Syrians from “the evils of the remnants of [Assad’s government].”
Syrian sociologist Miqdad Aboud told Hawar that the depth of Syria’s social mosaic had been destroyed due to the chauvinist and Arab nationalist views of the Baath party administration, leading to deep problems among different parts of society.
For Aboud it is imperative that minority groups unite if Syria is to find a solution to these problems. With unity, Syrian society could build a common intellectual ground that would preserve the country’s diversity, he said.
However, he also remarked that the experiences of similar multi-ethnic, multi-denominational countries in the region must serve as a guide for Syria’s own journey.
He said, “We benefit from the experience of Iraq and Lebanon. They organised the political level and political institutions according to their [societal] components, in order to retain equality in their intellectual and political positions. As a result, there are problems in these two countries in forming governments and holding parliamentary elections. There are sectarian divisions, and the modern mind has transcended this form by national divisions.”