On Dialogue Culture
By: Farhad Suleiman
Since the beginning of time, ancient peoples and societies have adopted dialogue as a means of exchanging knowledge, experiences, goods and lifestyles. Human beings are social beings, as they used to communicate with others constantly and express their culture through their words. All their behaviors, thoughts and attitudes, in their essence, involve relations and development of culture.
Dialogue is considered one of the pillars of cultural communication between peoples and societies. It is one of the necessities of the modern age, in which coexistence, interaction and understanding are not possible without acceptance of the other and openness to opinions and exchange of ideas. Therefore, the idea of intercultural dialogue is one of the basic concepts that has become a necessary and significant need. It comes first in the concerns of peoples, states and governments list. As well as, at various political, cultural and economic elites and at various research centers and cultural and international institutions. Since it is the safest way to overcome crises and tensions between societies and the authority, between local societies themselves and between states also. Globalization came to confirm this theory, (the theory of dialogue culture), as national, regional and even international meetings are held only on the basis of views presented by specialists in all political, economic, social, historical, geographical, philosophical and media fields, in order to promote dialogue in these realms.
The societies’ need for a dialogue culture has created a new concept called "intercultural dialogue," which is a concept that indicates the necessity of strengthening dialogue between different peoples' cultures. This contributes to building a cultural exchange between peoples, which is the sharing of diverse cultural ideas and opinions between popular or ethnic groups. It results in understanding differences between cultures and working to bridge points of view on problematic topics. Like language, morals, history, religion, cultural identity, etc.…., as they agree on several conditions and foundations for the joint dialogue process. These concepts are depicted in the existence of mutual respect, respect for cultural specificity, avoiding the release of prejudices and understanding the apparent cultural influence. The outcome of this dialogue is that the interlocutors build bridges of trust and communication among them, to prevent regional, local or ethnic wars and conflicts and to provide economic, social and moral support.
The dialogue culture and its significance among components of NES:
Societies of NES/Rojava are described as a mixture of indigenous races in the region (Kurdish, Arab, Syriac, Assyrian and Armenian), as well as different religions (Islamic, Yazidi and Christian). Throughout history, these nationalities or ethnicities have formed a cultural identity that characterizes this region. As it is united by a common history of peaceful coexistence that the individual finds in this geographical spot as a logical consequence, namely, the unity of fate and the future reality.
Hence, dialogue between the region components, is an urgent need and a vital necessity. It is considered a cultural ground around which these components are gathered in the form of a mosaic. Thus, this intermingling between ethnic and religious components makes it very difficult to separate them, whether on ground wise or language wise. As one can find various identities overlapping and intermingling and without dialogue, nothing will be achieved. Therefore, the dialogue culture or civilizations dialogue, is the key through which doors to coexistence are opened. Every race or sect has a civilization that expresses the development of its cultural identity over ages. Consequently, if dialogue is successful then it ends conflicts and prevents the region, with all its components, from falling into chaos and loss.
Dialogue and building bridges of trust and acceptance of the other, in light of the upcoming entitlements and upcoming political settlements, in the future Syria:
When proposing the concept of dialogue, we must bear in mind that all nationalities or ethnicities in the Syrian Upper Jazeera are looking for a foothold for themselves in shaping the future of this region. They conceive that dialogue is an urgent necessity of coexistence and that it is a difficult and problematic path that they must take, in order to achieve their goals. Therefore, we find that the frequent meetings and conferences between these components have found their way to the light, through an agreement between them to form a local self-administration. An administration that includes individuals and entities from different races and nationalities, all of whom participate in drafting a local constitution that guarantees each party its right to live. Likewise, to protect it at the same time from disintegration and conflict. All these meetings and dialogues do not take place except through dialogue that creates bridges of trust between them. Since, the upcoming entitlements and political settlements in the future Syria are not, and will not be, accomplished without the acceptance of the other. As the challenges and stakes it faces are of great significance, thus, peaceful efforts must be concerted so that the wheel of peace continues to move forward on the path of the future. As well as, not to provide opportunities to opinions aiming at destabilizing the region by sowing sectarian strife and strengthening regional conflicts through weapons and death.
The civil war in Syria has imposed a new lifestyle that did not exist before the crisis. Namely, the idea of accepting the other, which proved the fact that political and societal dialogue is more effective than war in achieving peace. Due to the fact that the Syrian Ba'athist regime has deliberately distorted the region’s history by all means. This was done through the racist laws, they enacted in order to obliterate the truth and the systematic marginalization of one component over another. Such as, the census law in 1963, according to which citizenship was withheld from more than 300 thousand Kurdish Syrian citizens. In addition to other racist laws, which aimed at extending greater control over society and rejecting any attempt to bring viewpoints of the region components themselves closer, such as the Kurdish-Kurdish dialogue and the Kurdish-Arabic dialogue.
Those in charge of the current local cultural dialogue projects, must seriously consider the imposed war crisis. Also, to bridge the gap that the Syrian Ba'athist regime was, and is still working to deepen. They must get rid of the idea of the ego, as there is no peace without dialogue and no dialogue without accepting the other. This rich cultural and social diversity witnessed by the Upper Syrian Jazeera is the ground on which we must build our national identity anew.
To conclude, successful dialogue cannot be achieved through repeated meetings and conferences, but rather it is the result of a moral and behavioral education, accumulation of knowledge and the practice of values of tolerance, difference and mutual respect. The best means to make this dialogue loaded with hope and trust between the region peoples, is to become a tool to create possible solutions and build promising horizons of understanding and coexistence among all, in a world full of challenges.