Perspectives on Syria
UI arranged a discussion with the Syrian writer Yassin al-Haj Saleh, awarded with the Tucholsky prize 2017.
The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) organised a seminar with Yassin al-Haj Saleh, this year’s Tucholsky prize* awardee. Building on his experiences as a political prisoner, author and writer, he discussed the global dimension and repercussions of the struggle in Syria.
In particular, he focused on modern-day Syria as a metaphor for a world characterized by the absence of any global progressive or emancipatory projects. The discussion also included reflections on future scenarios, freedom of expression, and on the stages of the Syrian struggle and the formation of the Syrian cause.
Yassin al-Haj Saleh is an influential Arab author. He writes on political, social and cultural subjects relating to Syria and the Arab world. He has authored several books, the latest being The Impossible Revolution – Making Sense of the Syrian Tragedy. He was imprisoned in Syria between 1980-1986 for his membership in a left-wing opposition group and is today a political dissident.
The discussion was moderated by Lucia Ardovini, research fellow at UI's Middle East and North Africa Programme.
* The Tucholsky prize is every year given by Swedish PEN to a writer or a publisher who is being persecuted, threatened or in exile from his or her country. This award has been named after the German writer Kurt Tucholsky, who came to Sweden in the beginning of the thirties as a refugee from the Nazi regime in Hitler’s Germany. Still awaiting to have his application for political refuge granted he committed suicide in 1935 and was buried in Mariefred, Sweden.