TEDx first event in Syria is scheduled to take place this month on the 29th of January 2015 in Damascus. The event; TEDx YPU, is sponsored by Yarmouk Private University, established in 2005, 45 Km south of Damascus in the road to Dera’a, where the Syrian popular uprising out broke in March 2011.
Last year, a TEDx event called TEDX Ummayad 2014 was cancelled following an angry public campaign by several tens of Syrian and International activists. Several TEDx responsibles in the mother organizations announced that they had nothing to do with the event.
It is amazingly shocking how one can have the gut to spread “inspiration” while half of the Syrian population has been uprooted and kids are freezing to death in the south of the country and the refugee camps in the neighboring countries.
However, this year’s event team announced on their Facebook page two of their speakers: Abd Al Salam Haykal and Ammar Jokhandar, both are Syrian businessmen.
“Because we believe that a better future should be written by enlightening ideas” TEDxYPU
The organizers of the event forgot to mention that their version of future concerns only them and those who still live inside Damascus, without hundreds of check points separating them from their universities and schools. Does this “better future that will be dictated by enlightening ideas” include the 2.8 million kids who are kept out of school due to the barrel bombs of Assad and other forms of terror???
Is it ethical for the organizers and speakers of the event to ignore the sufferings of millions of Syrians by organizing such an event in the heart of the country? does it really go in consistency to hold “free thought event” with the absence of justice which the organizers admit to exist and believe that their event will bridge? Where is the justice when tens of tens of Syrian entrepreneurs and innovators remain with unknown whereabouts in the detention centers of Assad regime.
Last year, the organizers of STOP TEDx Ummayyad wrote in a public statement:
“many of those Syrians who have freely expressed their opinions ended up detained, dead or displaced and, as such, no public forum for dissent and critical thought exists in Syria at this time. Holding a public event on peace building in which views are censored or persecuted makes a mockery of the proceedings and disrespects the memories of all those who actually did stand up to be counted by dissenting publicly.:
Take a photo with a paper saying: #StopTEDxYPU and use the same hashtag and post it in your social media accounts.
A free, inspirational TED talk starts by the liberation of thousands of political detainees in the Syrian prisons. Any talk without them is a betrayal of the basic principles of TED and basic human rights.