Kadri Jamil: ‘Economic Growth is Impossible without Social Justice’
On December 16th 2011, a roundtable discussion summarizing a cycle of open lectures by Kadri Jamil, Professor at the Institute for Socio-Economic Development Planning in Damascus, on the current political situation in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, took place at the HSE School of Asian Studies.
Kadri Jamil defended his thesis and received his Candidate of Science in Economics degree at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Today he is Professor at the Institute for Socio-Economic Development Planning in Damascus and at the National Institute of Administration under the Syrian Ministry of Defense. In addition to this, Kadri Jamil is also Secretary of the National Committee for Unity of Syrian Communists and member of the Presidium of the National Front for Freedom and Change.
Prof. Jamil started his speech with a statement that the mass protests which started in Syria on March 15th 2011 are not only an Arabic phenomenon. ‘I believe’, he said, ‘that this increased political activity of the masses is a global phenomenon. The world has entered a new epoch, the essence of which needs to be understood. A new epoch has started in the Arab world but it doesn’t mean that it will end there. No one is secure from this wave. This means that we need to learn to manage this objective phenomenon which will undoubtedly rewrite and influence world history’.
According to Kadri Kamil, it is necessary to start a deep academic study of all aspects of the protest people’s movement, since the living memory of existing political regimes does not have a similar precedent. ‘Unfortunately’, he added, ‘the Syrian government has not analyzed the new symptoms, but reacted to the mass protests in a standard way – exactly the way they did it in the second half of the 20th century. Those methods were very effective then, but not today’.
Professor Jamil suggested the round table participants consider the fact that the division between ‘the opposition’ and ‘the regime’ is illusory, since in reality it is much more complicated than what we see superficially. The political space which was formed in the world after WWII, has lost its effectiveness over the last decade and is in a phase of socio-economic agony. ‘We are experiencing a very complicated moment’, the lector emphasized, ‘when the old is dying, but has not died yet, and the new is being born, but has not been born yet. We should comprehend the nature of these processes and act like a good doctor who will assist the birth of a new ‘creature’ – a new political space. The role of science is to understand objective laws and to manage them. If we fail to do this, these processes will take place independently of our will’.
Kadri Jamil believes that Syria, as well as many other countries of the Arab world, needs a new blueprint for society, both political and economic, and some new schemes to help society function, which do not copy the past. ‘The new epoch is conditional on the greatest crisis of capitalism’, he said, ‘and further economic growth is impossible without social justice, which means that redistribution of capital is inevitable’.
Kadri Jamil spoke to the audience about his view of the necessary steps for the development of Syrian society and emphasized that deep reforms are essential in order to stabilize the situation in the country. ‘Government, opposition and popular movements should be “cleaned up”. The regime should be cleaned from corruption and the domination of military structures’, he said. ‘The opposition should be purged of Western influence and become patriotic. The popular movements should clean their members from extremists who want to overthrow the regime. The changes in the country should be peaceful, deep and progressive, without any external intervention. We cannot allow a repeat of the scenario used by the Americans in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya. That’s why we need double protection: both from external factors and from internal disintegration’.
During his speech Kadri Jamil several times mentioned the proposal by Syrian communists to create a government of national unity which would have stop the growing violence and prevent foreign intervention. ‘Our suggestion has an expiration date’, the speaker said, ‘since in the current situation, the time factor is crucial. To be late means to lose any kind of effectiveness. It is necessary to urgently build ‘bridges of trust’ inside the society and to strengthen the cooperation with our international friends, with the priority being Russia and China’.
In the end of his presentation Kadri Jamil expressed his sincere gratitude to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the support of Syria in resisting Western attempts to interfere in the country’s domestic affairs. According to Kadri Jamil, Russia’s use of its veto on the Syrian problem in the UN Security Council was a real defense of a peaceful population and Syria’s nationhood as a whole. ‘I believe’, he said, ‘that Russia’s use of the veto is a real landmark in world history which will end American aggression in the Middle East’. ‘In Syria people say that Minister Lavrov has become the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Syria’, the politician continued, ‘The fates of our peoples are closely connected and historically linked. This becomes evident in the cultural, psychological and everyday life of Russians and Syrians. The recent visit by His Holiness Kirill Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to Damascus and the way he was welcomed by Syrians, speaks volumes for this fact’.
Valentina Gruzintseva, HSE News Service
Photos by Nikita Benzoruk
School of Asian Studies
Kirill Zhirkov, LCSR, HSE St. Petersburg Campus, research fellow took part in the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Summer School at the course ‘The Middle East in Global Politics’. That’s his impressions on the international summer school which was possible due to the LCSR financial support.