«A revolution is an exceptional event that alters the history of a society while also transforming each human being. It is a rupture in time and space, during which humans live two experiences of time simultaneously: authority’s time and revolutionary time.»
Omar Aziz, an anarchist born in Damascus, opened his text, The Formation of Local Councils, with these words in 2012. The text would go on to motivate the formation of grassroots councils and assemblies across the Syrian territory.
Though tragic events in Syria continue to make the news every day, the inspiring courage and inventiveness of the 2011 revolution are too often overlooked or, worse still, deliberately denied to defend the various authoritarian parties to the conflict. On Thursday August 31, we'll take some time to return to the revolution's first year, using Omar's text, recently translated into English, as a starting point and look at how people organized to challenge the regime. It's one of the revolutions that has gone the furthest in our time and there's a lot to learn from its successes and failures.
A translator of the text will be present, as will Salam, an activist and journalist who was living in Damascus and participating in revolutionary activity until late 2013. We'll read some excerpts of the text, hear a few short presentations, and have a facilitated discussion. There will be printed copies of Omar's text available for all attendees, as well as a selection of other insightful texts on the Syrian Revolution.
From the introduction to the translation:
«Without ever intending to, Omar’s life and writings can serve as an example of what we mean when we say “the Syrian revolution” — definitely not the official opposition in exile or the foreign-funded militias profiting off the war economy, as its detractors try to claim. The Syrian revolution is in the formal and informal organizing that goes on in hundreds of places every day. „
The translation of The Formation of Local Councils:
Some thoughts on the importance of the Syrian Revolution by Buddour Hassan — How the Syrian Revolution Has Transformed Me:
(Graffiti in the title picture:
You are the master of the ember
How large the revolution, how narrow the journey
How grand the idea, how small the state)