Najah, 48, a female teacher in Al Hasaka

Umayyad Mosque, Damascus

What makes you proud to be Syrian?

I am proud that Syria still exists on the political map of the world.

Syria is a secular country. Can you explain what this means to a non-Syrian?

For me, secularism means living together in the same land, speaking the same language while having different beliefs and religions. Our beliefs are a private matter, and at the same time we all believe in scientific progress.

What does the concept of personal freedom mean to you?

Personal freedom is to live, to settle, to receive medical care, and to practise one’s religion without having any negative impact on anyone.

What about political freedom?

Political freedom is the freedom to express my opinion about my country’s development, talking about the negative gaps without any problem, without causing hatred or rancor.
What have you learnt about life, people and yourself since the start of the crisis?
I have learnt to be loyal to my country despite all the difficulties.

“In Syria, the Arab Spring has been received with general indignation”

If there were such a thing as Utopia on earth, what form would it take, do you think?

The best version of a Utopia that can exist is when people respect their fellow humans and work together to achieve progress in all fields.

From ‘Beloved Syria – Considering Syrian Perspectives’, Sept – Oct 2016 Edition

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