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

Collective Work A Must, Says Nashawati

The "National and Social Initiative" is seeking,  in cooperation with a number of NGOs based-in- Damascus, to launch social activities with the aim of  consolidating the  national cohesion and upgrading  social discipline.
In a statement to SANA youth bulletin, head of  initiative, Hossam Nashawati clarifies  that the initiative's idea comes according to  the social's  needs of each area through launching   campaigns ,  various activities and workshops in collaboration with the NGOs in society by adopting using the direct techniques of social marketing in a bid to stimulate  the  social feelings , according attention to  their proposals and focusing  on ensuring job opportunities rather than boosting society awareness of volunteers .

"The initiative aims to educate citizens on the  importance of the work in a society, the necessity  to protect it  and to give citizens the opportunity to express their opinions and to shed light on a fact that Syrians are going hand in hand," underscored Nashawati.


"The initiative's main task  is to  unify   the NGO's work  in the service of  citizens and to open channels   of the  traditional society and its habits , according to each area and the activists' pivotal  role , coordinating with concerned ministries and institutions to set out the  social initiatives (goals-definition).

Nashawati pointed to the importance of creative ideas presented  by volunteers as regards the said initiative. And  working to find  out a rapid  mechanisms to be applied into force, due to the need to develop and encourage young of   creative ideas that help pushing the process of participatory and voluntary work forward.
" there is a dire need  to  promote the  culture of collective work  amongst  citizens ", Nashwati concluded.

 

Maysa Wasouf

'Khbrat' advertises for free courses in mid-term break

 Syria's youths in Damascus and its countryside have an opportunity to join free training courses during the February mid-term break.

The advertisement about the courses has been put on the Facebook of the Khbrat initiative launched by the Syria Trust of Development in 2011. [Khbrat is a slang means: experiences].

Thus far, members of the 'Khbrat' Facebook (Facebook.com/groups/khbrat ) reached up to 6000.

"This year, the initiative is to hold new additional courses about how to write an e-mail in a professional way, telephone marketing, mass media appearance, and the seven habits," the initiative's general coordinator, Mr. Alaa Ed-Din al-Aeedy, told the Syria Times reporter.

 He added that the courses, which target university and school students (aged 17-35), also include activities about writing successful plan on projects' management, human resources, body language, communication skills, and public relations.

Initiative's goal

"The fresh courses have been defined according to youths' requirements," al-Aeedy said, stressing that the initiative's goal is to meet society's needs.

These courses are to be held in Damascus (in Baramkeh and Mezzah) and Damascus countryside (in Jaramana) as most of the youths, who are interested in the courses are living in these areas.

"Our strategy is to reach the youths everywhere," al-Aeedy said.

He sees that it is better for youths to join such free of charge courses instead on staying at home during their break time.

"It is true that a lot of youths are travelling abroad, but it will be useful to follow the courses to enter job market wherever."

"We are planning to train trainers in 3-4 months and we expect a great successful in this regard," al-Aeedy said.

Policy changed

In fact, the current circumstances in the country have led to change the initiative's policy which was depending on paying visits to factories that are partners in the initiative.

Most of the factories, especially in areas in Damascus countryside were closed down because of terrorist attacks. So, the initiative is benefiting from the experiences of trainers in those factories.

Now, the new policy is based on holding workshops and training courses in the above mentioned areas (Baramkeh, Mezzah, and Jaramana).

Media sector

As for partners, al-Aeedy said: "Besides the main partners, the initiative has now new ones in media sector such as e-Syria, al-Madina FM, Rotana style FM,  Sawt el-Shabab radio, sawt al-Shaab radio, and Damascus radio."

Participants in the courses are to visit the media centers in order to be briefed on the mechanism of working.

Funding

However, the serious problem that faces developing the initiative's work is funding the advanced courses.

"Funding means development to a professional level," al-Aeedy said, adding that there is a 'good' logistic and media support for the initiative.

"But we need financial support to hold professional courses. We are communicating with businessmen to receive such support. "

The Trust is funding society's needs according to priorities. "Now the top priority is for food and medicine".

Despite the circumstances, the initiative is seeking to expand its work across Syria through, initially, opening centers in Lattakia and Hama provinces.

Youths in shelters

Moreover, the initiative is going to make a survey in the shelters to ask youths there about their needs as regards courses.

"University students' number in the shelters is 25-50," al-Aeedy said.

It is reported that the Trust is supervising 16 shelters in Damascus where displaced citizens, who have fled their homes over the past year, are temporary living.

The Syria Trust for Development is a non-governmental, non-profit organization established in 2001 to empower individuals and communities in Syria to fulfill their role in building their society and shaping their future.

Basma Qaddour

 

 

 

The wind of misleading gossips has carried all the lies about Syria away

Today the level and magnitude of lying has increased dramatically. "The press has caught Mad Lie disease, marked by a loss of appetite for the truth and projectile regurgitation of anything fed to it" Too often the news media slants or covers up vital information to push a particular political or social agenda. Like here in Syria, let us see what did they say about the terrorists in Syria, they told us many lies  through their media," they are just civilians who want democracy and freedom, they have no arms, then many videos were published even on their media, about terrorists killing, kidnapping raping women, and training children to be terrorists!

  Lying is not just a tool for the media or politicians. In our daily lives, it is all too easy to lie. The Washington Times quoted philosophy and legal studies professor Peter Wenz as saying, "Most of us are not tempted to do the worst kinds of things, like murder, but are tempted to do less serious things that we know are wrong.... We tend to rationalize the behavior to make it seem right".... Shocking? Yes! but there is a price to be paid. Lying is dangerous business. One can't know what's going to befall you, once you engage in a lie, In a way, you lose control. Maybe it'll come back to haunt you.  It's difficult to keep up with lying. Often more lies have to be told to protect the first lie. and every lie has to fit the facts available to the person lied to. Then all the lies have to be remembered in every detail or else the liar risks being exposed for what he is. In 1808, Scottish poet Sir Walter Scott penned the now-famous words, "O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" .

I want you to read this story….

There once was a woman who did not like what a certain old and wise teacher would say to her. One day the old woman's words were more than she could bear. It was the truth, but it made her so angry that she really began to butt. She went everywhere telling lies and evil stories about her teacher. She tried very hard to turn people against her with her terrible talk and gossip, but the more she talked, the sadder she became. At last she was very unhappy, and began to feel sorry for all the lies she had told.

Finally in tears, the woman went to the teacher's home to ask her to forgive her. The old woman did not answer her for a long time. She seemed to be deep in thought. At last she said," yes I will forgive you, but first you must do something to me."

" What do you want me to do?" She asked, a little surprised,

" come with me up to the roof and I will show you, but first I need to get something from my room."

When the teacher returned from her room, she was carrying a big feather pillow under her arm. The woman was astonished and out of breath, they finally reached the top floor.

Suddenly, without saying anything the teacher ripped open the pillow and dumped all of the feathers out. The soft breeze blew, picked them up and carried the feathers everywhere. The teacher and the woman watched the feather flutter away for some time. At last the old teacher turned to the woman and said, " Now I want you to go and pick up all those feathers for me." " pick up all of those feathers?" she gasped. " But that is impossible."

" Yes I know ." said the teacher " those feathers are like your lies about me. What you have started you cannot stop, even if you are sorry, you may be able to tell a few people that you told lies about me, but the winds of gossip have carried your lies everywhere. You can blow out a match, but you cannot blow out the great forest fire that one match can start."

I am telling you this story, because that is exactly what happened to Syria, they( America, Qatar Turkey….) started to lie, and lie, until they betrayed some, or many people, just to destroy Syria, for the benefit of Israel, we have paid a lot from the innocent's blood, but at all costs everything is becoming clear and obvious now.

We are Syrians we do not give up, we do not quit before the victory, anything wonderful can happen in that little margin of time when we do not give up, but keep on believing. Strong faith will have many times  overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and handicaps.

Boutheina Al-nounou

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