Date :Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 | Time : 21:46 |ID: 33736 | Print

Reject Censorship at Conference on Refugees – Petition

SHAFAQNA – STOP THE WAR IN SYRIA is calling on supporters to mobilize.

“Please help the Syrians… The Syrians need help now. Just stop the war. We don’t want to stay in Europe, just stop the war.”

We first met 13-year-old Syrian refugee Kinan Masalmeh in the Hungarian border town of Szeged last week. Outside Budapest’s main international railway station, we found him among the hundred of refugees who have been stranded for a second day as authorities continue to block them from travelling to other countries.

A 13-year old Syrian boy stranded at a train station in Hungary has spoken out, asking European leaders to stop the war in Syria. Suggesting that westerners do not like Syrians, the boy said Syrians would not come to Europe if there was no war pushing them there. “Just stop the war and we won’t come to Europe,” he said.

The following petition has been published to denounce manipulations and lies over Syria.

All voices should be welcome at the “Crossing Borders” conference on refugees, 7-10 July 2016, organized by the Cooperative Institute for Transnational Studies (CITS) in collaboration with the University of the Aegean, and taking place on the Greek island of Lesbos. The organizers say “Today, ‘the West’ is facing the worst crisis of human dispossession since the aftermath of the Second World War. ….These urgent questions and conditions necessitate that radical activists, artists, politicians, refugees, scholars and students gather, discuss and debate.”

Unfortunately the organizers have been pressured to censor discussion and debate. A campaign was launched to disinvite keynote speaker Dr. Tim Anderson (University of Sydney). His book “The Dirty War on Syria” exposes the role of the USA and its allies in destabilizing Syria, funding and promoting the conflict that has led to the current refugee crisis. As they have in the past, some groups and individuals who support the armed opposition in Syria are trying to prevent a broader discussion.

Whatever our views about Anderson or any of the other speakers, it is wrong to silence an important voice at the conference, and especially one that expresses a repressed viewpoint. We should always be concerned when someone tries to prevent us from hearing an alternative explanation.

The advocates of censorship have said that they will ask other speakers to withdraw if Anderson is allowed to speak. That is their right. Speakers are free not to speak. But for the organizers to withdraw an invitation to a confirmed speaker is to remove that speaker’s right as well as the right of the attendees to hear him.

We call on the organizers of the conference to reject censorship and encourage open discussion and debate on the causes of dispossession and destruction leading to migration. It is essential for the conference to include voices like Dr. Tim Anderson’s and to consider the responsibility of the USA and its allies in the destruction of Syria and creation of the refugee crisis.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Maria Nikolakaki
    The Cooperative Institute for Transnational Studies
  • Prof Stratos Georgoulas
    University of Aegean / Lab EKNEXA / Sociology Dept


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