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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Hassan Abbas: Syrian Intellectual and Champion of Citizens’ Rights

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“He stood against Islamization, militarism, and empty slogans, and tried to harness the power of knowledge for the sake of the revolution, and thus pave the way for a knowledge revolution, which Syrians desperately needed.”

Wael Sawah   A Syrian researcher and Abbas’s friend

Abbas, an Alawite married to a Sunni, was a rebel against the sectarian dictatorship in Syria.

“He stood against Islamization, militarism, and empty slogans, and tried to harness the power of knowledge for the sake of the revolution, and thus pave the way for a knowledge revolution, which Syrians desperately needed,” wrote Syrian researcher and Abbas’s friend Wael Sawah.

Abbas penned a large number of books on citizenship, on criticism, as well as Syrian traditional music, culture and intangible heritage. He did a cultural map of Syria, and his last book, The Body in the Novel of the Syrian War, was published days before his death. He also founded a film club and cultural forum. (See a related article,  “Syrian Art Thrives, Defying Violence.”)

The unrelenting and determined activist strongly engaged in civic activity to spread the importance of the idea of citizenship among Syrians, and in 2000, he was among 99 Syrian intellectuals who paved the way for other intellectuals and politicians to work publicly, by signing what would be known as the “Manifesto of the Ninety-Nine.”

“I enjoyed the work he did on music, cuisine and cultural questions related to heritage, identity.  It was yet another important contribution he made to Syria and the region,” Majed said.

He added: “It is a big loss especially at this time when people especially in Syria needed him the most. He died before seeing any of his aspirations, which he worked hard on, being achieved.”



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