VOLKSBÜHNE
Berlin

Photo: Photononstop / Alamy Stock Foto

Syria’s war economy and reconstruction
Mohammad Al Attar
24.09.
Roter Salon

Discourse
English

Alongside his new production The Factory, the Syrian playwright and dramaturge Mohammad Al Attar hosts a group of experts to discuss the topics of war economy and reconstruction in Syria – two central issues to his piece. This session will take a critical approach to the calls for Syria’s reconstruction that are currently being advanced behind closed doors, and which have unfortunately found a receptive audience among Europe’s surging right-wing parties, who are solely preoccupied with reversing the flow of refugees. It will also examine Syria’s war economy through the case of the French cement giant Lafarge and the legal violations committed by its Syrian branch.

The presentations by the experts will be followed by an open discussion with the audience, moderated by Mohammad Al Attar.

The event was designed by Mohammad Al Attar as part of a fellowship awarded by the Allianz Kulturstiftung in the program "Weltoffenes Berlin" of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

Anyone who purchased a ticket for both The Factory and Syria's economy and reconstruction will receive the ticket for the discussion in the Roter Salon at a reduced price of 4 euros.

Topics:

Claire Tixeire (France) will present the case of Lafarge’s Syria activities, detailing how the company struck deals with different parties involved in the ongoing war to ensure its factory would continue to operate in North Syria. She will also highlight the importance of the current case against Lafarge before the French judiciary, as an exceptional example of attempts to hold multinational corporations accountable for their violations in conflict zones.

Shaza Alsalmoni (Syria) will address the legal basis that must undergird any discussion of post-war Syria’s reconstruction to avoid it being used as a bargaining chip or political blackmail. This is particularly relevant given Russia’s increasing calls for donor states to pump money into projects under the pretext of facilitating the return of Syrian refugees.

AlHakam Shaar (Syria) will discuss the ‘Aleppo Project,’ which aims to develop a vision for Aleppo's reconstruction that includes its residents’ narratives, especially those of its displaced inhabitants. By incorporating voices usually excluded from reconstruction plans, the project seeks to propose an alternative to the economic and investment approaches to reconstruction advanced by politicians and their business allies.

Biographies:

Claire Tixeire is a legal advisor at the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a non-profit organization that litigates strategic human rights cases to hold powerful actors to account. In the last two years she has been focusing her work on the Lafarge case filed in France against the cement multinational for crimes committed in Syria. From 2004 to 2011, Claire worked for the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) seeking to hold American U.S. officials accountable for torture committed in the context of the so-called “war on terror”. In those years, she led the advocacy work of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) before the United Nations in New York. She holds law degrees from France, England and Canada.

AlHakam Shaar is the Holbrooke Fellow for The Aleppo Project at the Shattuck Center on Conflict, Negotiations, and Recovery at Central European University in Budapest. Since he joined the Aleppo Project in January 2015, he has collaborated with Aleppians of all walks of life, including urban planners, cultural heritage experts and civil society actors, and worked closely with graduate students of public policy researching problems that are most likely to face post-war Aleppo. AlHakam was lecturer of English at Isik University, Istanbul and holds a Masters in TESOL from the University of Aleppo. His fascination with Aleppo’s heritage started at the age of ten when his family renovated and moved to an Old Aleppo house.

Shaza Alsalmoni is the head of the International Law Support Unit at the Syrian Legal Development Programme. She holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Exeter - UK and a Bachelor in Law from Damascus University – Syria. Shaza resides in London and has been working with NGOs for the past three years focusing on advocacy, research and legal consultation, she worked with the Equal Rights Trust, the British Institute for International and Comparative Law, Small Media Foundation among others. Her areas of interest include international human rights law, as well as international humanitarian law and international criminal law.

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