Homs – Enab Baladi
“It’s important for these lectures to continue, it’s a revolutionary civic activity”, Abdul Salam Swed said. The head of the services office of the local council in besieged al-Waer neighborhood in Homs had just attended the first lecture held as part of a series of cultural events organized by the neighborhood’s centers starting from Friday, January 20.
Swed said organizing these events was “a very good idea, because studying history is important for raising awareness”. Most of the attendees also expressed their delight at the launch of the events, which are scheduled to continue throughout the next eight weeks, coming to an end on 11 April.
The events were launched by cultural centers in al-Waer, including al-Qiyam cultural foundation, Ennour al-Mubin institute and the Youth Club. Eight lecturers will present lectures on various issues from the political history of young people in Homs in the post-revolution era to extremism and sectarianism, the role of women in the revolution and developing critical thinking among youth, as well as a range of other subjects.
The first collaboration between the centers
Enab Baladi met with Iman Mohammed, a member of the management board of al-Qiyam institution who is in charge of the cultural events. Iman sees the project as part of attempts to “revive the spirit of the revolution and provide youth with cultural material”.
Al-Qiyam Cultural Foundation was established in 2013 to raise cultural and social awareness and empower this generation. It began with a library project then entered the field of distance learning. It has sponsored many projects, including “The Walls of Homs” project. It works in al-Waer neighborhood and Homs’ northern countryside.
According to Mohammed, this is the first collaboration of its kind between the centers in the neighborhood. She also noted that the attendance “was high, including a good number of women (around one-third of the audience). She added that a number of educational projects would be carried out in the next few days, organized jointly by all the centers of the neighborhood.
Walid Fares, director of the Union of Middle Schools in al-Waer neighborhood, is one of the lecturers during the cultural events. He explained to Enab Baladi that the project is comprised of three parts, the first of which includes lectures to be held on Friday and Saturday of each week.
In his view, the audience is “thirsty” for information, noting that the bombings prevent some people from attending, “but the number of attendees was good given that the situation is currently calm”.
According to Fares, the aim of these events is to “document the current phase, which is being done through research that will later be published and made available in the neighborhood’s bookshops. It also aims at developing cooperation between cultural centers as well as revitalizing cultural life and promoting its various facets within the neighborhood”.
Mohammed Mubarak, an Arabic teacher who has taught for over forty years, is participating in his personal capacity in the final week of the events, to talk about youth and their role in the revolution. He told Enab Baladi that the first events had been “encouraging”, noting that the “attendance was greater than expected, given people’s usual disinterest in participating in cultural events”.
The event organizers view culture as a weapon and believe that youth should have a good understanding of social issues as a whole in order to be able to “use freedom as a positive tool”.