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Syrian Druze between revolution and Assad: MEMO in Conversation with Sarah Hunaidi

MEMO in Conversations is on hiatus this week and will be back next week. During the later quarter of August 2023, the southern Syrian city of As-Suwayda was gripped by anti-government protests led by a religious minority, the Druze. In this throwback episode from 2020, we discussed the politics of Druze in Syria with Syrian feminist and human rights activist Sarah Hunaidi.

August 30, 2023 at 4:00 pm

The Druze in Syria have recently risen up against the rule of President Bashar Al-Assad, in this 2020 MEMO in Conversation Syrian feminist and human rights activist Sarah Hunaidi refutes claims Al-Assad is the only hope for minorities in the war torn country. 

A good case study to understand how the Assad regime is harmful to minorities is its relationship with the Druze in southern Syria, she says. A religious minority that split away from Islam hundreds of years ago, the Druze in Syria are a majority in As-Suwayda governorate and they have a long history of rebelling against tyrannical rule stretching back centuries.

Hunaidi also explains how Syrian voices abroad are being silenced and how political debate about Syria has little to do with what was actually happening in the country. Moreover, she points out that Syria’s economic hardship cannot be blamed solely on US sanctions; Assad’s destruction of the country over the years is a key factor. 

Hunaidi is a Syrian writer, feminist and human rights activist. She writes and publishes both in English and Arabic in prominent media outlets like Foreign Policy, the Independent, Buzzfeed, among others. She appears regularly on the BBC, Al Jazeera English and NPR to comment on political and cultural events in the Middle East. Her work has been reported by NPR, Al Jazeera, Al-Hurra and various other Arabic and International media platforms. Sarah is a member of the Syrian Women Political Movement, the first women-led political movement dedicated to advancing women’s rights and political participation in a free and democratic Syria.