President al-Assad: Extremism, terrorism and wars could be fought by culture

Damascus, SANA- President Bashar al-Assad stressed that the world could be changed by culture, as extremism, terrorism and wars could be encountered by culture, asserting that the antiquities and culture constitute an identity, and people in society cannot live stable without an identity.

President al-Assad’s speech came during His Excellency and the First Lady, Mrs. Asma al-Assad receiving members of foreign missions and Syrian experts participating in the international conference held in Damascus on the latest results of Syrian archaeological research and the repercussions of the earthquake.

On the way we should see history, President al-Assad said that the more we know about the history of one region, the more we know about other regions as the world in the past was interconnected and I think that the world had lived as one civilization, but not different ones, may be one civilization, but different cultures.

“Most of the problems we are facing today are caused by turning a blind eye to the past, and when we do so, we don’t understand the present and if we are unable to understand the present, it is impossible for us to see the future and when we don’t see the future, we will face a big problem and destruction as we see today,” President al-Assad added.

President al-Assad stressed that instead of sending soldiers, if part of the money that was spend to create problems, is sent for culture, then the world would be changed, hailing the key role of culture in fighting extremism, terrorism and wars.

The President added that the antiquities and culture constitutes an identity, and people in the society could not live stability without an identity, this is what we have realized during the war in Syria, because we have lost part of our identity, as part of the identity is represented by the archeological sites, which you have known, they destroyed Palmyra, and part of Aleppo citadel and many other sites in Syria, which are, in fact, a global site, but not only Syrian ones.

“Part of our war in Syria is not about fighting. We are not fighting with guns only, but we fight with culture. We fight through preserving the identity,” the President went on to say, stressing that Identity could not be preserved, if we were unable to protect the archeological sites which is integrated with the intangible heritage.

He called the participants in the conference who work in the field of the intangible heritage to continue work in this field, noting that by this way we can achieve peace in Syria.

President al-Assad addressed the world, Paulo Mattei, by saying: “You love Syria, and Syria loves you. For us, we see that Syria as a society, country, history and heritage are closely aligned with Paulo Mattei. You are part of our identity and part of our heritage today.”

Addressing the archeologist Paolo Matte, president al-Assad said “You love Syria, and Syria loves you, for us, we see Syria as a society, country, history, and heritage as coherent with Paolo Mattei , you are part of our identity and part of our heritage today.”

President al-Assad thanked all members of the foreign archeological missions for coming to Syria and some for staying in it, noting that it wasn’t easy to come and stay in this critical situation as it is a war zone.

President al-Assad concluded by saying “when we talk about history and heritage, we couldn’t do so without mentioning the name of Syria.”

It is worth mentioning that the reception came on the eve of awarding the discoverer of the Kingdom of Ebla, Italian archaeologist Paolo Matthiae the Syrian Order of Merit of the Excellent degree by President al-Assad in appreciation of his works and achievement regarding Syria’s history and antiquities.

Hala Zain

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