Image by Eustaquio Carrasco
With so much international interest in rebuilding Syria and Iraq, this is an ideal opportunity for some joined-up, locally informed thinking, a collaborative attempt to develop an all-inclusive and authentic approach to rebuilding a safe and secure sense of place. A multi layered platform from which to re-connect with the feeling of home and the potential for a positive and productive community to thrive once again, building on (and acknowledging) the past to create a more informed, dynamic and tolerant nation with a productive and edifying place in the international community once more. In the understanding that failure to do so could jeopardise social-economic recovery, social cohesion and reconciliation in the country.
“Nowadays cities are dumping grounds for globally produced troubles; but they may also be seen as laboratories in which the ways and means of living with difference, still to be learned by residents of an increasingly overcrowded planet, are daily invented, put to the test, memorized and assimilated”. (Zygmunt Bauman 2016)
However, initial signs of a coherent response look bleak, last month (17.08.2017) for example, another international trade fair and exhibition took place in Damascus. The event, seemingly encouraged by the Assad regime and held as an indicator that, the victory over the insurgency is all but assured and that the government is confidently planning Syria’s grand scale reconstruction, it has all the hallmarks of a grant ‘carte du jour’, a facilitation, for a international business carve-up profiting from Syria’s misfortunes, underpin by past promises and current alliances, with little authentic consideration given to the local context and its people.
Despite the politic peace-building rhetoric surrounding Syria and Iraq, predictably, there is an undercurrent of jostling for the future lucrative reconstruction deals by international governments and organisations, all looking to profit from Syria’s devastation. Naturally the government’s closest allies, “Russia and Iran, have been the most prominent beneficiaries of the Syria reconstruction gold rush, with China not far behind” (Heydemann 2017).
Heydemann reports in a Brooking’s Article that, “in early August of this year the Chinese government hosted the “First Trade Fair on Syrian Reconstruction Projects,” during which a Chinese-Arab business group announced a $2 billion commitment from the government for the construction of industrial parks in Syria.” (Heydemann 2017).
America, European Union, Amman, Jordon (Syria ReBuild 2017), Lebanon, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have all tendered their expertise with regards Syria’s reconstruction.
“Whole cities and swaths of the country have been destroyed. Millions of civilians are displaced either within the country or outside its borders during six years of conflict. The World Bank estimates that post-war reconstruction will cost in the hundreds of billions of dollars and though the international community is treating the reconstruction of Syria as a pressing priority, questions remain about where the money will come from, when it will come and under what conditions”. Al Monitor