President Assad brought together pioneering educators from around the Syrian Arab Republic, to honor them on Teachers’ Day, 17 March, in Damascus. All of the instructors had more than twenty years experience, all had engaged in distinguished work, including the writing of significant books that merited publication.
Dr. Assad honored those who joined the most noble of professions, those fine human beings who dedicate their lives to inspiring and infusing intellectual creativity and moral character in their students.
Excellence in teaching is infinite in its reverberation throughout generations.
Syrian President Assad honored these teachers in his unique, understated fashion of weaving history, philosophy, patriotism, and development into a beautiful mosaic of knowledge, knowledge shared among the honorees and all attendees — knowledge that has developed over thousands of years of history, knowledge that will continue to expand for the development of generations of future citizenry.
In his unique oratory artisanship, President Assad was able to interweave the current state of western accelerated deterioration, the end of the eleventh year of the NATO war against the Syrian Arab Republic, and the ongoing attempts of the west to cause massive, international damage to humanity regarding Ukraine, defining friend or foe depending on willingness or lack thereof, to submit to American and NATO dicta.
Syria’s President Assad did so, without sullying the eternal message, that the future of humanity is based on an ethical and firm grasp of history (or, as The Bard wrote, Past is prologue.).
Though it is not possible to synopsize Dr. Assad’s address to honor Teachers’ Day, it is important to point out that this was the statement from which the snippet culled on Ukraine’s president was completely devoid of context (despite the fact-checkers frequent complaints in social media memes or reports): “that Zelensky (Ukraine’s president) is a Zionist Jew, yet he supports the extremist nationalist organizations that fought (alongside the Nazis) in WWII when Hitler invaded (the USSR), and some of them took part in the massacres committed against the Jews…”.
Translation, captioning, and transcript are courtesy of Syria News founder, Arabi Souri.
We welcome all of you, male and female teachers, as soldiers in the battle to build the human being, mind and thought, soldiers in the battle to correct the concepts of ignorance and backwardness, soldiers in defending our identity, culture and belonging by immunizing our children with awareness, science and knowledge, on the occasion of Teacher’s Day: Happy New Year.
The ministry was called the Ministry of Rearing, it was not called the Ministry of Education, nor the Ministry of Teaching, nor the Ministry of Schools because science without morals leads to harm and causes harm, and science without patriotism leads to the destruction of the nation, so the teacher may not be only a schoolteacher, the teacher is an educator, a teacher and an educator, educator of knowledge and educator of good example.
Schools are a substitute for homes, and male and female teachers integrate in their work with the parents, and complete what the parents started at home in raising the next generation, the men and women of the future, so when any defect appears in society, in the country on a professional level, on a social level, on a nation level, the first thing that is referred to as the education sector, is education: homes and schools, parents and teachers. Education is every individual in society, it is every family, and it is every specialty, meaning practically it is the whole country, if it rises, the homeland rises with it, and if it descends, the homeland descends with it.
Today, as we end the eleventh year of the war on Syria, things become clearer with time and with the passage of years for every Syrian citizen. The elements of this war are becoming more visible, whether the West who is seeking to dominate and control the whole world, including Syria as one of the arenas, passing through the stooges blocs, whether they are Arab, regional, or Western, in Europe.
With the communication systems, whether they are Arab, regional or Western in Europe, up to those who hold Syrian citizenship but are not bearers of the spirit and heritage of the homeland, and this element is the most important element in this war because they are the gateway to strangers and the key to all the conspiracy that took place in Syria.
The lessons of war cannot be useful or learned lessons if we cannot analyze this situation. These people lived with us in the same country. They studied the same curricula with us. All these lessons in history we learned together, but they went in the opposite direction. Those groups of Syrians are few. The opposite trend to history and the nature of society in Syria.
There is another factor that is no less important than this element, and they are the Syrians who loved their country, but they did not have enough awareness at the beginning of the war to know what happened, so they unintentionally sent the wrong messages abroad and encouraged the outside and encouraged the terrorists when they demonstrated that what is happening in Syria is not political disputes and political differences are normal because people have different opinions, but what they showed is the national division, and when there is a national division, it means that the foundations of the homeland are incorrect, and this sends a message to the foreigner to look for the appropriate and golden opportunity to intervene in Syria.
They confused freedom of opinion with the chaos of opinions, so for them talking about topics and talking in the language of division, whether it was ethnic, sectarian or other, is part of freedom of opinion and not part of sabotaging the homeland. They justified the chaos by reacting. They justified sabotage with reform. They said that those who came out were protesting to fix corruption and the various errors that exist. They confused the government and the state, instead of opposing the government, they went towards destroying the state. They did not realize what foreign intervention means when foreign ambassadors took to the field in Syria in order to support sabotage.
They became aware later, but when they reached the stage of awareness, it was too late, and by that time the train of sabotage had set off in Syria.
All these examples express a deep and very frightening lack of awareness of a part of society, even if this part is small and not large, and I say frightening, because the security and stability of the homeland depends on awareness, the most important element is awareness, and national awareness in the first place, all other elements of stability are important, but in the absence of the element of awareness is worthless.
And of course, education is the most important component of the formation of this awareness.
We ask ourselves a question while we are still in the midst of war, and it seems that wars are spreading everywhere. Is our educational system capable of contributing effectively to building a conscious and qualified youth? Can it protect those upcoming generations from intellectual and psychological downfall, and later social and national downfall?
Why do we ask this question now? Did the educational system contribute across generations to building this awareness? Certainly, most of us grew up with this system, but the difference in education before the nineties, building national awareness and protecting society from external influences was easy, there were no satellite channels, no Internet or the like, the societies were closer to isolation from each other, and there is some communication, but it was limited. In the nineties, satellite channels began and the external influence began, and of course, at the beginning of the millennium, the Internet began, and we all live today, what the social media is doing to us.
In the sense that the process of establishing this awareness today for the teaching staff, for the curriculum, for the education system in all its aspects will be much more difficult and more complex. This does not mean at all that the isolation that existed by virtue of the conditions of the world at that time in technical terms and the absence of social media was a good thing, on the contrary, one of the most important elements of developing societies and expanding their horizons is contact with other cultures, with one condition, that we be immune through the established national character, because this communication and interaction with other cultures differs between being a process of integration, and we consider ourselves part of the cultures of the world, and we are one of the most important societies capable of integrating by virtue of historical diversity and the passage of different civilizations, but there is a big difference between merging and dissolving, therefore, education with this title has an important role in shaping this national character and in shaping the national identity that unites the various spectrums of Syrian society.
We move on to the second question, which is focusing on the major gaps, which we see as more dangerous to address, and part of these negatives have nothing to do with the war, but appeared in the war, and the most capable segment or sector capable of identifying these negatives is the teaching sector because it deals with students on a daily basis.
The third question, which stems from the first and second questions, what is the output that we want from our educational system? Who is this graduate, what are the specifications of the graduate? Who is the future citizen we are looking for?
Here, it is preferable to start first from the general environment in which we live today, we are all old and young today in the age of information, meaning between information and the other comes ten information, the density of information due to the presence of smartphones, computers and social media does not give time for analysis, but this volume of information did not make the generations better, on the contrary, the previous generations had less information but had a greater ability to analyze, today we are losing this ability or skill.
So, we have to think, how can we raise a generation that has a correct system of thinking? When we have the right system of thinking then this much information becomes useful to the student and useful to society.
We move from a state where the information exploits us to a state where we invest in it. When we invest in information, rumors are out and the remote leading that happens from time to time on social media becomes an issue behind our back.
Currently, because we do not analyze information, we are remotely led. In the information age, we need to analyze.
History has no value as information that we have memorized if we do not deduce the lessons of history, and this is the pinnacle of analysis. Today, we need to analyze history more than mathematics. We need to create a generation that faces challenges and does not run away from challenges, when a problem appears before them, they confront it, and do not run away from it and live in denial, we need an active, proactive generation looking for solutions, not waiting for them to come on their own. We need a generation that seeks to change reality, not subject to the frustrations that lead it to nothing. We need a generation that controls modern technologies and social media and transforms them to serve and benefit them, instead of draining them of time and energy and making them a person living in a state of emptiness.
We want a graduate who belongs to the homeland, who does not consider that the homeland is a hotel with certain good services, and when these services decline, he moves to another hotel, and when we talk about the hotel, we do not mean geography, we are not talking about people who traveled or emigrated for different reasons, some travel for education, some travel for work, there are different reasons, but the hotel is means the people who live in Syria and whose hearts and minds are abroad, and there are people who have lived abroad for many years, but their hearts and minds remain in Syria. Some of them did a lot of work in order to help their homeland while they were in different countries, some of them stood neutral as if they were not concerned, and some of them made efforts to persuade the West to bomb Syria, so the hotel homeland is not intended for geography, but rather the belonging and the way of looking at this country, it is for the mind of man to be with his country.
We want a graduate who considers himself part of the whole, and does not consider himself the whole, considers himself and considers his interest as part of the interest of the group, benefits with others and not at the expense of others, altruistic who knows the meaning of giving, not absolutely selfish, thinks only of himself and after him the flood, ready to sacrifice for the sake of his country, not to sacrifice the country and the interest of the people for the sake of their own interests.
How do we create this generation? We raise them with national awareness and the ability to analyze. This is the basis. Everything comes later and is built on these two points.
Technically, we develop them by developing skills, not by flooding them with information. What we lack are skills. Information is abundant in our curricula, as you know, but skills are weak, so we take knowledge but lose the skill. Science benefits specialization, but skill benefits society, and this moves us to another skill, which is communication skill, which is very weak in our society. Confident presence, ability to persuade, ability to dialogue with another person who is different from him; these abilities are generally weak.
And when we talk about the ability of dialogue with a different person, here we move to another crucial topic, which is the issue of diversity in Syria. Social diversity is the basis of the Syrian identity. This diversity is the most important strength of any diverse society, and at the same time, it is the biggest weakness of this society. How? According to how we look at it, if we see this diversity as richness, the richness that comes through continuous dialogue between the various components of society, then this is a strong point, if we see it as difference and disagreement, then it is an inevitable weakness point, so we must establish that Syria cannot exist from without this diversity, its diversity could not be less, and Syria could not be one color at all. This kind of difference and this type of dialogue brings us to the topic of values, because dialogue and acceptance of the other is also part of the social values that we must educate our students on.
Acceptance of difference, whether it is different in belief, opinion, culture, with any kind of difference is one of the basic values that protect the homeland, in addition to dedicating other values such as love, benevolence, respect, self-respect, respect for adults, respect for the teacher, respect for science, all the meanings of respect that we started to gradually lose during the last two decades because we have been influenced by other cultures that also confuse freedom of action with lack of impoliteness.
As for the subjects, we also have comprehensive subjects, but what is lacking in the subjects sometimes is the link between these subjects, we are talking about one curriculum and goals, sometimes we compose curricula independently without a dialogue between the disciplines and this is a weak point for the student when he feels that he is going in different, non-parallel directions towards one goal with different subjects, and sometimes there are some inconsistencies between books with regard to specific information, this thing will not deliver the required message from the curriculum despite the great effort made by those in charge of authoring these curricula.
This link is very necessary.
There is also the issue of linking the content of the subjects, the volume of the subjects, and the community’s need. What do we need today? Do we need engineers, doctors and jurists, or do we need more programmers today? Where is the world going in the next ten years or maybe more, maybe the next two decades? Is it continually going towards the artificial intelligence that might govern all of these things we live with today? Where do we direct people? Shall we direct them in a different direction, which is vocational education, since we always talk about small projects, and considering that small projects are a basic need for the Syrian economy, regardless of the war, but building the economy mainly depends on small projects. Do we need more professionals despite the fact that vocational education is under (the ministry of) higher education, and this brings us to another point: linking the curricula between (the two ministries) of Rearing (Education) and Higher Education, especially intermediate education, but we must determine where we are heading in the coming decades because the student is now in the first grade is about 5 or 6 years old, after 12 years he will be at the university with certain specializations.
Of course, this title pertains to rearing and pertains to higher education, as I said, and not only to the Ministry of Rearing (Education).
The link between the curriculum and the lessons learned from all the national key times that Syria passed through. We give information about the Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Amorites and Phoenicians, all the way to modern colonialism, especially the French and British, but the most important stage that concerns this generation today in a realistic way is the stage of the Muslim Brotherhood in the eighties when they carried out terrorist operations because that stage is the basis for the war that we are facing today. How can we ask this student, who will be a citizen in the future, to have a national awareness when we do not share national experiences with him? There is no connection, he does not know what is the relationship between this war and that war that was waged in the eighties, he does not even know about the beginnings of this war.
Therefore, these important national experiences must be an essential part of the curriculum and the establishment of national awareness in the future.
We talked a lot about the student and the curriculum, but what about the teacher? Of course, practically everything I mentioned above is the teacher, not the student. The student is a partner and not just a recipient, and the biggest partner is the parents, this is normal, but the one who leads the process is the teacher.
The teacher today needs an integrated system like any administrative system that deals with qualification on the one hand, but at the same time it links with qualification job ranks, initiative, and material incentives associated with these ranks. We must establish an integrated system that has been started, and I think that the final touches to the law related to it are now in the Ministry of Education and will be submitted to the Council of Ministers after being studied by the relevant committee. It will constitute moral and technical support, but most importantly financial support for teachers.
Therefore, the education sector will remain a priority, because without a conscious citizen armed with science and knowledge, capable of analysis and in line with the requirements of the times, any solutions to the problems we face today in all fields and in various sectors will remain partial, tinkering solutions that are short-term and short-term.
When we build this future human, the situation will be radically different.
Today we were able to fight the war and defend the homeland with a conscious and affiliated citizen, but at a very big price. In the future, we want this citizen that we are looking for and who is now a student in Syrian educational institutions, not only able to defend but what is more important than that to be able to protect his country from any war before it begins.
We want a person who is able to analyze and thus dismantle the terms that come to us from outside and dismantle their toxins, and therefore this conscious person will not be taken by those terms towards alienation from society as we see it or towards extremism, not political, social, cultural or religious extremism, when this individual is conscious, this means that all of society is conscious, and it means that all of this society is able to read plans proactively and is able to decode the various plots that will not stop towards this region, especially towards Syria.
As we all see, the world is not moving towards stability. On the contrary, wars spread and instability is what we see in the foreseeable future. Today, events in themselves do not concern us with their details, as much as we are concerned with linking these events, and linking them with previous events that occurred in the past. When we can make that connection, then we can read the future. At the same time, we must link these events with the Syrian positions during the war and before the war, and with the old Syrian political positions.
When we make this connection, we can say, was the Syrian vision one day true or false, realistic or far from reality?
So if I want to talk about the events today, their essence today and in the past is the West, because the West runs the politics of the world, or affects, to be more precise, it affects the world negatively for hundreds of years, perhaps more than two centuries of time, all the problems of the world over hundreds the years were caused by wars, occupations, and killings, which the West has always sought in order to achieve its interests.
If we want to talk about any topic, we must talk about the common denominator today, first because the world’s suffering, as I said, is caused by the West, secondly because our suffering in Syria and in this region, which is now a hundred and over years old, since the Ottoman exit in 1916 is directly related, since the French occupation until today, to the Western countries which have not stopped plotting against Syria.
The other side is because the West today is going through a historical juncture regarding its role, presence and image after the Ukraine war in particular. The Syrian and Libyan wars have affected, but the Ukrainian war is now a complete hinge on the role of the West. The fall of the Soviet Union was an important juncture, but the West considered itself strong, but the real transformation took place since World War II, and this is the second major transformation.
Since all problems and turmoil are related to the West, I will go through some of the points related to it, and for us in Syria, most of them are old points, not new, but for the Western public they are new, and for many of the deceived in the world they are new, and these points are what we will build our future vision on, perhaps for decades, not for a few days, months, or years.
The first point is that the colonial West, and when I say the colonial West we are not talking about peoples, we are talking about Western regimes, we are talking about the institutions that drive Western policy, so when I talk about the West I am describing the effective institutions, the lobbies and the governments or the regimes that work closely with them.
The colonial West has not changed at all throughout its history until this moment. There is no change. The difference is that America replaced Britain and France in the fifties, and those two countries, along with the rest of the other countries in the West, turned into dependents of American policy, and the West became more skilled in lying and deception and more ingenious in wearing deceptive masks in order to deceive different peoples, and it managed to do so for decades.
Today, the West uses more humanitarian terms, but it commits more crimes against the people of the world, but in fact, all these masks that they wore during those decades, during which they could not deceive Syria even once, and this is the problem of the West with Syria and with the Syrian people.
However, the events that took place in Syria forced the West to gradually remove these masks. The Ukrainian war came to force this West to remove the remaining masks at once, and the West became completely naked in front of its people firstly, and in front of other people secondly.
But removing these masks was not without a price. Removing these masks led to the destruction of the foundations of the false Western propaganda that they began to adopt after the Second World War.
The first point is that the West has proven that international law does not concern it at all, and the West has more than destroyed it, and when we say the West, at its head is America, which has trampled on the institutions of international law over the past decades the most, and turned the world into a jungle, and here some ask, with a little romance and simplicity, what is the legal justification or what is the legal document for the Russian intervention in Ukraine?
We must know that the law is not what is written, but rather what is applied. If in the country there is a written law, but there is no judiciary, there are no judges, and there are no police, what is the value of the law? The country will actually be a jungle and whoever respects the law will have no place in this country, the country will be only for outlaws, bandits and thieves. The truth is that the world since the fall of the Soviet Union is a jungle and thieves are the West, and there is no international law and there are no international institutions and there is no such thing.
Talking about international law in the absence of its existence and its non-implementation is meaningless. These words were said by Russian officials exactly 15 years ago and publicly that the policy pursued by the West is the policy of force, and the policy of the strongest, and therefore they seek to turn the world into a jungle.
As for freedom of expression and opinion, which is one of the most important foundations that the West boasts about, it has fallen into the abyss, at least since the young George Bush came about 20 years ago and the entire Western world with one opinion, and everyone is moving in the same direction, governments, lobbies, companies, media and recently the social media. What is this democratic West in which hundreds of millions of people live, but in which there is only one opinion?
When America gets angry with Syria, suddenly all opinion becomes one opinion against Syria, using the same terminology. When they want to defend Zionism, and this is a continuous thing, everyone speaks one language. And recently, when they became angry with Russia and allowed violence towards it, so too was one opinion.
The truth is freedom of opinion and freedom of expression is to have one opinion identical with the West, this is the truth.
Freedom of property is one of the most important pillars of the capitalist system. Suddenly when they became angry recently with Russia, they confiscated all the property of the Russians abroad, whether for the state or for businessmen, and this reminds us completely of the confiscation of Syrian funds and the confiscation of Libyan funds and before that, Iraqi, Iranian and others. So, the freedom of property is the freedom of the West’s ownership of the property of others.
The West has shown its racism and hidden hatred against everyone who is not like it. This talk does not apply only to Muslims, and does not only apply to Arabs as we think. No, it applies to everyone. The hatred that we saw against Russia today we did not see against any country in history, but this hatred It is not new, this hatred is centuries-old towards Russia and towards others.
One of the important examples in World War II, the West was very happy with Hitler’s entry into Russia and no one is talking about more than 26 million casualties in Russia. They had no problem with him (with Hitler) and did not attempt to make any attack against him, but they did so when he began to lose and in the final stages of the world war so that Russia could not snatch this victory as the West thought, so they landed Normandy.
The West has proven that it does not have friends or enemies, it has only one enemy: anyone who stands in the way of its material interests.
Communism, Islam, Nazism, China, Russia, or anyone else are not the enemies of the West, if they serve the interests (of the West) they are friends, if they oppose those interests they are enemies.
In other words, they have zero principles.
The ugliest truth of them all, and not many people know this, is the lie that the West and Zionism oppose Nazism.
Not many people know that the Nazis in Ukraine, Nazi organizations that closely collaborated with Hitler in terms of security, militarily, and ideologically, were moved out (of Ukraine) at the end of WWII, some of them to Europe and some of them to America.
In the 1950s, the CIA asked the American administration to lift the ban on these Nazi groups because America needed them in Ukraine, which was then part of the USSR.
What proves these historic facts today is that Zelensky (Ukraine’s president) is a Zionist Jew, yet he supports the extremist nationalist organizations that fought (alongside the Nazis) in WWII when Hitler invaded (the USSR), and some of them took part in the massacres committed against the Jews.
So how come this Zionist Jew is supporting these organizations?
The West supports these organizations which today are called the right-winged ‘Azov Battalion’, and Zionist Israel which keeps regurgitating about the victims of the Holocaust supports a leader who supports the Nazis that killed the Jews.
This proves that the West is lying in everything that it is saying, and it does not care about anything except ruling the world, controlling the world, plundering resources, and filling its coffers.
But what concerns us by all this talk? What concerns us is that when Syria started its dealings with the West in the past over decades, it did not start with extremism. It was accusing that Syria is extremist, that Syria is unrealistic, and that Syria does not read the world map well. We never proceeded except from adhering to our rights and adhering to our realistic vision because this West does not offer us anything, so Syria has proven its vision and positions correct. Secondly, we cannot bet on the change of the West in the foreseeable future, because whoever is not changed by centuries will not be changed by minds, thus, we cannot bear in mind that this West will come one day and play an objective, just or helpful role in any of the issues that concern us in Syria and in many other countries.
The third point, this means that what the Syrian state and the Syrian government put forward in 2005, 17 years ago about heading east, is now more correct than before, first because events prove the fact that the West cannot be relied upon, secondly, because the East that we are talking about has become a developed East capable of meeting the needs of most countries of the world away from siege, away from superiority and away from controlling our destiny in every field. Therefore, we do not doubt today the progress of the West technically, scientifically, organizationally and administratively, but we have no doubt that the political West is a morally decadent West. This picture, in a nutshell, will shape our vision of the West in the future and the way we deal with it. It differs only very little from the vision that was formed during the past decades.
So, as we see the world going towards conflicts and the price of these conflicts began to be reflected on everyone in every corner of this world, especially in the economic aspect, and we are part of this world and we have to think seriously about what solutions exist before us to confront this harsh reality that has begun to affect very fast?
Of course, the possibilities exist, even if they are few, but we need a dynamic mind and also need a strong will in order to be able to find solutions.
We ask simple questions in this field, the field of the economic living: What can we do and what cannot be done?
Prices have started to rise globally since the spread of the Corona epidemic, and an upward trend without stopping, but the Ukrainian war came to lead to a rocket rise with all these prices, including wheat, minerals and all things, there is nothing that has not risen in price to varying degrees, and it seems that with the continuation of this war, the situation will continue as it is a continuous rise in prices. Can we change prices abroad? Absolutely not, this is completely out of our influence. Can we do something inside? Of course we can support production, that’s what we’re talking about.
Were we able to stimulate production, especially new projects, during the past year or two? Of course, we were able to do that, but at the same time, the different circumstances came to the contrary for this production, first, the conditions of high prices abroad, secondly, the conditions of electrical energy, but there is no choice but to support this production at any cost, and we will be able, God willing, to do so, but the problem of electricity remains the biggest obstacle in the face of producers.
Of course, there is a clear vision for a solution in this field. We talked about solar energy, and the first groups began to arrive at the beginning of March. They were supposed to arrive in the month of October of last year, but the great pressure on the production companies and the great pressure on the means of marine transportation led to a delay of at least five months, and what arrived was a few that were unable to change the electricity situation, but what I want to say is that these supplies are starting to arrive more slowly and on a longer schedule than we had hoped.
The other side is the traditional generating stations. After hard efforts, we were able to find ways to secure the necessary parts to advance a number of stations, and we were able to secure experts to help us. Some of these supplies have not yet been secured, but according to experts’ opinion, the big difference will be apparent after the fall.
What’s important is that things are going in the right way. We may not be able to control all the factors considering a large part of them are external, but what I want to say is that all the obstacles did not prevent us from improving the situation. What we do not control is the timetable, but so far we have been able to control the material requirements that concern us in these sectors.
In any case, dealing with all these things is not impossible, this must be known. It is not impossible at all, no matter how severe and harsh the circumstances, but it will certainly not be easy, and it will not be without a price. All these high prices abroad will lead to high prices that we pay, but we need mature, not childish, opinions, for innovative, and not traditional opinions.
Once again, I express my happiness at this meeting, as you are the messengers of science and knowledge and you are entrusted with the future generations of the nation, and you are the guardians of the principles and values that constitute the identity of our nation, the essence of its civilization and the basis of its survival.
I wish you all success and success in your tasks, for your success is the success of the country. Happy New Year, and thank you.
End of the transcript
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