Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

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Syria: Turning Grief Into Peace

Published Date: 
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Syria is a country overshadowed by war and violence, and Syrian women suffer human rights violations on a daily basis. The country’s current state of crisis has led to women’s internal displacement and many Syrian women flee the country in order to escape violence and war as well as to seek refugee status in foreign countries.

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In order for women to get more involved, as well as play an effective role, in the peace-building process in Syria, the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace (SWFP) was established in November 2012. SWFP comprises a wide network of Syrian women and peace activists who advocate for a peaceful transition against violence, and aim to increase women’s participation in all areas of political life. Their goal is to create a culture of peace in Syria through the implementation of peaceful processes on the political as well as the local level.

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SWFP has recently launched the “Walls of Peace” project as part of the larger “Change Through Art” project, with the aim to turn people’s “grief into peace” by means of painting on city walls that witnessed direct effects of the crises. Nabek city in Damascus was the first city to implement the project and around 70 painters and volunteers from all over Syria gathered to paint nine sketches on the walls of the cemetery in Nabek.

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The wall itself is a vital location, because it symbolizes the road for Nabek farms and it has played a crucial role in violent and political events. The paintings on the wall are a source of inspiration and have brought life and hope back to the city. The cemetery wall is about 82 meters long and it took a full day of labor to finish painting. The paintings placed on the wall derived from details that relate to the city of Nabek and its women. Additionally, they reflect the city and SWFP’s goal. Nabek’s local inhabitants participated in the project and helped the artists and volunteers wherever possible. They hope the outcome of the project will be a step towards establishing peace in the city.

The “Walls of Peace” project is scheduled to be implemented in other cities as well, with each city making a different piece of art.

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This is an update from Syrian Women's Forum for Peace (SWFP). Members of SWFP underwent training at WELDD's political participation workshops in Cairo in January and December 2013, WELDD Peacebuilding Orientation in Istanbul in October 2013, and WELDD workshop on Culturally Justified Violence Against Women: Resistance and Sustaining Our Activism, in June 2014.

Peace and Security
Political and Public Participation