Syria's Teachers Stress Determination to Carry on Their Message Despite Terrorism

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Teachers in Syria mark their day by stressing  stronger determination to continue their sublime education massage and play their important role in preparing generations to build better future for the homeland.

Despite all the destructive attempts by the narrow-minded terrorists to block the education process in Syria, teachers continue to confront these armed groups' criminal acts by carrying on their national duty of providing knowledge at schools , institutes and universities.

Marking Teachers Day, Education Minister Hazwan al-Waz said that this year Teachers Day has special importance as the homeland is being exposed to a war waged by killers, ignorant and narrow-minded extremists who fight knowledge and science.

"Teachers stand steadfast defending science and education and protecting their schools, students, books and desks," the minister said, pointing out that teachers have lift the banner of education and faced many difficulties even death.

According to Education Ministry statistics, 179 teachers were martyred in terrorist attacks and more than 2445 schools in different governorates were damaged, not to mention the armed groups' crimes of mutilation, kidnapping and terrorizing against more than 300 people working in the education sector with the purpose of blocking the process of science and development in Syria.

On this occasion, the executive Bureau of Teachers' Union issued a statement on Wednesday stressing that Syria's teachers will continue do their duty and convey their message whatsoever in order to prevent Syria's enemies from achieving their schemes which aim at destroying Syria and undermining her role in region.

H. Mustafa  

Cooperation with UN Humanitarian Organizations in Syria Necessary to Alleviate Crisis Repercussions

DAMASCUS, (ST) – Cooperation and Coordination with UN humanitarian organizations acting in Syria is very important, said Deputy Prime Minister for Services Affairs Omar Ibrahim Ghalawanji, commending the relief services provided by United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)  to alleviate the suffering of terrorism-affected families.

Ghalawanji's remarks came during his meeting on Monday with Director of the UNICEF's Regional Office for the  Middle East and North Africa Maria Calivis and her accompanying delegation.

The Deputy PM said that within the coming few days, the ministry will sign an agreement with the organization on cooperation in the areas of drinking water and treatment of solid and liquid wastes in temporary housing centers, stressing that government services institutions in all targeted areas are to cooperate in this respect.

Calivic underlined the organization's readiness to provide necessary assistance in accordance with an assessment made for the needs of each area, in order to improve the quality of drinking water, rehabilitate the network and provide technical support for services institutions and administrative units in all areas.

Earlier, Health Minister Sa'd al-Nayef discussed  with Calivic the role of international organizations in helping the Health Ministry provide its services to citizens in all Syrian cities.

Al-Nayef urged international organizations and commissions to shoulder their responsibilities towards rehabilitating the damaged health facilities and ensuring necessary medicine and vaccines, particularly because the health sector was badly affected by the unjust economic sanctions and siege imposed on Syria.

"The ministry cooperates with a number of international and local parties to guarantee the arrival of the medicaments and vaccines to different Syrian areas including those witnessing  events," al-Nayef said.

He pointed out that 52 hospitals affiliated to the health ministry were damaged, 32 of them became completely out of work. He also referred to medicine factories losses and the damage caused to medicine, vaccines and medical equipment convoys.

He called for supplying the ministry with medical stuff that prevents children malnutrition and helps providing care to newly born children, stressing UNICEF's role in this regard.

For her part, Calivic said "the Syrian health sector is still in a good situation despite the critical circumstances and challenges  it is facing," affirming UNICEF's readiness to cooperate with the ministry to provide necessary assistance to Syrian citizens particularly in terrorism-affected areas.

Education Minister Hazwan al-Waz also met with Calivic for talks on cooperation.

"Current cooperation between the Ministry and the organization is very important under the exceptional circumstances Syria is passing through,"  al-Waz said, stressing the necessity of rehabilitating the damaged schools and drawing up a plan to guarantee the return of students to their schools.

He called for holding training courses for the teaching and administrative staff on providing psychological and social support to the students.

The Minister pointed out that the estimated cost of the damage caused to the education sector is more than 59 billion Syrian Pounds as a result of destroying 2445 schools in different governorates in addition to the human losses.

Calivic asserted that the organization in cooperation with the education ministry is implementing programs aiming at guaranteeing the return of students to their schools, pointing out that the organization is now focusing on opening study clubs and providing psychological support to students.  

H. Mustafa 


Generation gap is dangerous




Generation gap means different in attitude, or lack of understanding between younger and older generation. This generation gap has always been there, but these days it has reached to an explosive stage. The values and patterns of life have changed to a great extent, did you ever imagined that some children in our society changed to be terrorists? Did you ever think that we have some addict children?. Today everybody likes to live and behave in his own way. This attitude has widened the generation gap, which can never be filled except if we do something. This gap is destroying family life completely. The elders look after the children and make all sorts of sacrifices to bring them up, naturally, they feel they have a right over them. They want their children to follow their instructions as they have certain expectations from them, but the children, when they grow up, want a complete freedom in their thoughts and actions and unfortunately their thoughts and actions are just opposite to those expected by the elders, they revolt when any kind of restrictions are imposed on them consequently, the family breaks up and everything gets ruined.

Now I want to ask parents, How many times have you felt that your parents don’t understand you, that they have no respect for you as an individual ? How often do you shake your head in frustration and blame it on the ‘generation gap ? and that parents are like aliens from another planet altogether you and they are in different camps.

Many of us who’ve grown up in a tradition home can describe fathers as a strict, and serious, this is unlike modern fathers who share their children some of their activities, but with rapid changes in science and technology, the exposure which today’s teenager is getting is enormous, value systems have gradually degenerated, and the youth is assimilating a new culture, and parents are busy working, to bring them their needs, the result is confused parents who are unable to reconcile with the views of their children.

 I’ve met many parents, asked them how they thought of their parents at different ages , I had nearly the same answers ; when they were at 4 till 10, they thought their parents were very great, at 10 years they were good but short tempered, at 14 years they became fastidious, at18 years they became increasingly cranky, at 20 years, oh they became very difficult to tolerate, at 25 years, they were unbearable, objected to everything, almost a quarrel every day, after marriage and having a son or daughter, they began to understand that, bringing up a child is very difficult, and that their parents faced so many hardships to bring them up, they said;” we are unable to manage with our sons, we knew now that our parents were far sighted and planned so many things for us”. I confess, and they confessed that their parents were very great, but it took a long time to perceive that.

Don’t be angry when :Your teenager slams the door to her bedroom. Your ten year old huffs "Mom, you never understand!" Your four year old screams "I hate you, Daddy!" What's the most important thing to remember? Don’t take it personally, This isn't primarily about you, it's about them: their tangled up feelings, their difficulty controlling themselves, their immature ability to understand and express their emotions. Taking it personally wounds you, which means you do what we all do when hurt: either close off, or lash out, or both. Which just worsens a tough situation for all concerned.

Many teens will feel passionately about events and may even personalize them if someone they know has been directly affected. They'll also probably be aware that their own lives could be impacted by terrorist tactics. Try to address their concerns without dismissing or minimizing them. If you disagree with media portrayals, explain why so that your teens can separate the mediums through which they absorb news from the messages conveyed.

Generation gap is not that serious a problem, if families can learn to sit over dinner and talk, or sit in the living rooms over a cup of tea, and talk the things out, ironing the differences and sharing the experiences. When this communication barriers is transcended, and the ice broken, the problems does not remain that serious anymore, talking it out calmly and coolly, with the idea of sorting things out, changing for each other and changing for better can be the most helpful instrument in bridging the generation gap.

Family outings, vacations, tours, picnic-outings, often with the family, can be effective ways to initiate intimacy between parents and children, watching movies on tv. And discussing  them, playing computer games, putting forth the different view points, can be beginning to inculcate the habit of healthy dialogue between members of the family. Such small things and steps can do wonders, and reducing friction between two generations, that are right in their own respects, their only fault is that, they are viewing the same object from opposite directions, age, time, and experience, or lack of it, forces to do so.

At last, I say to our posterity : Seize the opportunity, if your parents are still alive, to learn from them, because no one in world wish you better than him except your parents, and to you,  parents I say: as Califate Ali, a long time ago said “ raise your children for their time, they’ve been created for a different time than yours”.


Butheina Alnounou                                                                                                                                         

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The Insight's Eyes

The blind are guided by God's light, a light that grants them spiritual insight to compensate them for the loss of the gift of eye sight. It is the light that distinguishes the blind and makes them smarter than others, as many talented blind people gave the world  the sweetest  poetry and the most beautiful melodies, in addition to unforgettable literary and artistic masterpieces

People with sight disability needed others to read or write for them and waited a long time for Louise Braille, the world inventor,  to produce a tool that helps them write and read. This great invention enabled many of them to break the darkness around their hearts and minds, so they don’t need others anymore. 

Among most renowned blind Arab personalities, who challenged their blindness and left remarkable imprints in ancient and contemporary history, were great poet Bashar bin Burd, Abbasid-era philosopher poet  Abu al-Alaa al- Ma'arri, novelist Taha Hussein and musicians Sayed Makkawi and Ammar al-Share'i.

Highlighting the situation of the blind in Syria, Syria Times visited the headquarters of the Blind Association in Lattakia and met its Chairman, Mr. Rami Qudsi who talked about the association’s activities which aim to make the lives of the blind easier.
Qudsi said that the association was established in 1995 as a branch of the Blind Welfare Society in Damascus. The then twelve- member association was declared in 2009 as an independent body."

Since then, Qudsi added, the association has striven to achieve its main objective which is to enhance the educational, social and mobility skills of those with visual vulnerability.

“The association carries out several activities in the service of its members who are currently 160. Such activities include holding training courses on computer skills, on playing various musical instruments, on singing and on writing and reading in Braille way,” Qudsi stressed, pointing out that the association has a huge audio library containing 175 thousand books.

“We also help qualified blind people have jobs in different  government institutions,” he stressed.

In addition, he said, the association holds advanced courses on walking and movement by the use of the white cane.

According to him, children are also accorded special attention, as the association had purchased a kindergarten to teach and help blind children.

Talking about the association’s main financial resources, Mr. Qudsi stressed: "The association carries out several activities to support its financial resources, including printing calendars to be sold to different government offices and holding a number of concerts.” Many almsgivers also offer generous donations to help members of the association carry out their humanitarian activities. These subsidies are distributed to poor families of the blind."

"Keeping this association a success and achieving its hoped-for goals require exerting all possible efforts and providing material and moral support by other institutions so as to serve this category of society and to help alleviate the suffering, which may be caused to the blind’s families as a result of their special need," Qudsi concluded.

Amal Farhat

On IWD, Syrian Women Key Role in Defending Homeland, Attaining Development Stressed

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The United Nations marked the International Women Day (IWD) for 2013 on March 8th  by a call to end violence against women of the world in a bid to enhance countries' commitment to recognize women's rights.  

This year's UN "Unite to End Violence against Women" slogan came as Syria was announcing that 93% of the gender gap was bridged in the country regarding education, according to the international report on gender gap published recently by the National Competitiveness Observatory.

Women struggle to get their rights was fruitful over the past years as the UN has recognized the need to alleviate women sufferings caused by work and gender discrimination.

Women in Syria have well embodied and practiced these rights by being men's partner in all development fields. The international gender gap report has showed that women in Syria have occupied senior posts in the state and have excelled in running different kinds of job.

Senior posts in the government are no longer confined to men in Syria. Women are able now to occupy any post in the state in the light of the country's policies to achieve equality between the two genders, empower women to be a partner in the country's development and political process, invest their potentials and meet their aspirations to contribute to building their homeland.

The new Syrian constitution has accorded special attention to women's rights and very recently, two women were appointed in the post of deputy chairperson of the Court of Cassation, while some Arab countries don't even give women their minimum rights.

The Syrian women practice their different rights through parties, people's, unionist and vocational organizations, including the General Federation of Women (GFW) which supports and protects women's rights.

"Women in Syria have over ages been a basic element in achieving development and in preserving the country's national sovereignty. Today, more than ever, they are concerned in attaining achievements mainly in the education domain," the GFW's head Majeda Qteit said in a statement to SANA.

"The coming generations will be affected by the ongoing crisis in Syria, so women's responsibility to bring up generations on right and national principles will contribute to building a secure and stable homeland," Qteit added, pointing out that women are the core of solution and the catalyst to encourage misled Syrians to reconsider their anti-homeland views.

She stressed that the GFW is keen to reactivate projects which help women participate in the country's socio-economic development in most-needed areas, pointing out that several Syrian governorates were announced illiteracy-free during the past few years, and that many small-sized enterprises were carried out even under the country's current circumstances to help women improve their living conditions.

Qteit pointed out that symposiums on domestic violence and family organization in addition to women-related activities are being held continuously despite the extraordinary circumstances in the country.

"Celebrating this year's International Women Day, the United Nations focused on the issue of ending violence against women and urged all governments, civil society and women organizations, media and all concerned parties to unify their efforts to end this "global plague", she said, adding that this UN campaign has got the support of most member states as it reviews women struggle to attain equality, justice, peace and development.

She concluded her statement to SANA by asserting that the Syrian woman is a unique example in terms of defending the homeland in the face the global conspiracy and bringing up her children on national principles and good morals so as to be able to overcome the challenges of the current era and build the future of renewable Syria.


H. Mustafa

Executive Framework for International Humanitarian Organizations Activities in Syria

Minister of Social Affairs Kinda al-Shammat has stressed that an executive framework was agreed on with the international humanitarian organizations acting in Syria and local civil society associations to implement their relief activities in Syria according to certain standards specified by the Syrian government.

 Al-Shammat, who was speaking during the meeting of the Higher Relief Committee on Thursday, said the agreement with international organizations will be one of the committee's top priorities based on transparent standards, pointing out that the ministry plans to enhance partnership with the Local Administration Ministry concerning relief activities.

Minister of State for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) Joseph Sweid stressed the Ministry's keen efforts to guarantee the return of displaced Syrian families staying in refugee camps outside Syria through holding contacts with the Red Crescent societies of the hosting countries. He pointed out that the SARC is working hard to ensure all requirements and temporary sheltering centers needed to receive the displaced families from Lebanon and then bring them back to their residence areas. 

However, Sweid added that "the Turkish Red Crescent Society had refused to comply with the SARC request to contact with the Syrian families staying in Turkish camps."

The meeting was attended by the deputy ministers of foreign and expatriates affairs, health and education, in addition to head of the Syrian Family Affairs Agency and representatives of the ministries of interior and local administration.


H. Mustafa

The Past Peaceful Days

Today, when my daughter complained of electricity cut off and of her being compelled to study by candlelight, I wanted to tell her what my father used to tell me when I was a child about his suffering with studying a long time ago. However, I found that by doing this I will tell her lies because when we started studying more than 35 years ago we did not have serious difficulties hindering our study. Schools were available and electricity, though was not so good over the past years, was enough to meet our needs at that time. We lived in an era of great stability, especially after what happened at the end of the eighties.

I compare between the current state of insecurity, instability and the loss of a lot of needs and between what my father was telling me about his childhood and youth during the fifties and sixties in our remote village. He told me about the village's rainy days, the snow and the long and difficult roads that they were passing through to get to school. At that time candles were a luxury because oil lamps were to be used in villages.

There were no schools in every village as it is the case today.  In each gathering of villages there was one school receiving students only from the nearby villages. Yet a lot of children didn't join these schools for different reasons.

Faith, at that time, was firm and determination was great. They worked a lot to build a new state.

At the beginning of the seventies, this state was founded and great efforts were exerted to establish a strong and civilized nation. Education and health became top priorities the state provided to all.

Education nowadays is compulsory and available to all. In each village there is a school, the state has also established schools in small gatherings far from urban areas. So wherever you go in Syria you can see schools, different education establishments and cultural centers. 

Our generation did not really feel the trouble, fatigue and the harsh conditions that our fathers suffered. We enjoyed the outcome of their efforts which ensure us stability, prosperity, security and peace.

Nowadays, our children witness how these glories and edifices are being tampered and sabotaged. Many schools were demolished. Dispensary, health centers and houses have been destroyed. Unfortunately, we see those who destroy and kill saying: "we are here to build a new nation".

I want to tell those people that we are happy with our life. We love it and enjoy the safety and security it offered to us. Stay away from us! We do not want your new ideas, as they are enveloped with the smell of death and destruction.

Amal Farhat