Images of people in Syria prior to the crisis.
Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria is an inter-religious popular movement which proposes a “reconciliation from below” starting from families, clans, the different communities of Syrian civil society, who do not support a violent revolution or are tired of violence.
Civic, religious and tribal leaders as well as the general population – Christians and Muslims – are involved in the movement, which aims to stem the violence and the potential for an on-going civil war in Syria.
The movement, note sources of Fides, intends to say “No” to Civil War and notes that “we cannot continue with a toll that totals between 40 and 100 victims a day. The nation is bled white, it loses youth and its best forces.” For this reason a new initiative that comes from the “genius of the people” from people “who want a decent life, who reject sectarian violence and sectarian denominational strife, as preconceived ideological and political opposition are urgently required.”
In many Syrian cities, where on one side there are clashes and victims – refer sources of Fides – ” gestures of friendship and reconciliation grow, offered by civilian moderate leaders to community representatives considered hostile (this happens between Alawites and Sunnis), in the spirit to ensure security and peace through civil society.” The movement hopes to find an institutional reference in the Minister for Reconciliation, the Socialist Ali Haider, who was appointed the new Syrian Executive and from the opposition party “People’s Will Party.”
But meanwhile, it is finding support abroad: the Irish Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 with Betty Williams and leader of the movement “The Peace People”, in a statement sent to Fides said “No to war in Syria” , and says: “We must put ourselves in the shoes of the Syrian people and find peaceful ways to stop this mad rush toward a war that mothers, fathers and sons of Syria do not want and do not deserve.”
The text adds: “We urgently need to support those working for peace in Syria and are looking for a way to help the 22 million Syrians to resolve their conflict, without promoting violence or chaos.” The Nobel Prize invites the UN to “be a forum where these Syrian voices are heard” voices of “people who have worked hard for Syria, to the idea of Syria as a secular, peaceful and modern country.” (PA) (Agenzia Fides 27/6/2012)
The Syrian Family Forum in its second edition is part of the Musalaha movement of which it is undoubtedly one of the major sources. Its founding session was held on 25 January 2012 in the Sahara complex on the Syrian coast. It had an historic impact due to the religious and national figures present and because it showed that a third way was still possible outside the regime-opposition conflict: the way of civil society.
Sheikh Salman Assaf Al Bijari founded this Forum, together with the journalist Ahd Sharifat. Mr. Khalil Nuh is the chairman of its executive committee. The Forum aims to bring together influential personalities of the various components of Syrian society (that is to say, tribes and social and religious families) to unite around the founding principles of the Syrian Family “reconciliation, brotherhood, loyalty and belonging” and, in the present circumstances, support the work of reconciliation, dialogue and reform launched by strong factions of the Syrian people and accepted by the home opposition and government.
The closing press statement from Sahara stipulated that participants had to create working committees on the ground to work quickly in the provinces of Daraa, Deir EzZor, Idlib, Hama and Homs and begin national Musalaha to assemble delegations formed from these committees to visit other provinces, win popular support and so ensure the success of national Musalaha in order to safeguard the multifaceted mission of a pluralist Syria.
Since then, every month an important joint Syrian Family and Musalaha Forum takes place, to help restore confidence and address the fractures caused by attacks of a sectarian or ethnic character.
- Supra-political and supra-religious unification of Syrian tribes and families
- Negotiations for release of abductees with the armed insurrection or groups acting under it
- Release of hundreds of abductees
- Collecting ransoms for kidnapped persons
- Dialogue for peace-making in villages “independent” of the State, in the provinces of Damascus, Aleppo and Idlib
- Reconciliation in mixed (Sunni-Alawi/ Sunni-Christian/Arab-Kurdish) villages
- Assistance to refugees of all sides
- Disaster relief
- Release of political prisoners
- Post-conflict therapy
WHAT IS GOING ON IN SYRIA TODAY? Information gathered over the days of the Syrian crisis by various independent witnesses, compiled by Alan Lonergan (firstname.lastname@example.org)