The summer school of spiritual solidarity opened its first lecture with the subject of Orientalism.
Led by the inspirational Jihad Nammour, we explored the roots and meaning of the concept as well as Edward Said’s own background.
Jihad expertly navigated us through the artistic roots of Orientalism before we discussed the stereotypes associated with the concept of the Orient.
The afternoon session focused on the history of Lebanon and Syria in which we rapidly covered over a 1000 years of prosperity and conflict.
From the conquests of the Umayyads to the ending of the Lebanese civil war, Carlos’s lecture brought to life the complex chain of events since the birth of Islam.
It was good opportunity to gain a strong grounding in the back story of the civil war and the lecture led to plenty of animated discussions about the backgrounds of various religious and military factions.
Friedrich also provided us with a personal account of the fascinating work of Father Pablo and the history of Deir al-Musa.
The second day of lectures focused on the idea of multiple modernities, exploring the concept of emancipation and identity in a global society.
It was again Jihad’s turn to inspire us into thinking about the multi-faceted meaning of modernity, urging us to challenge our perceptions by considering the identities of some of the key sides in the Syrian conflict.
Finally we finished the day with Basma and Anas providing a concise but thorough analysis of the war in Syria.
Laced with personal re-collections and poignant statistics, Basma and Anas movingly delivered a powerful overview of the factors which led to the outbreak of violence and the key turning points during the conflict.
The first few days have been an invaluable learning experience and we all look forward to the forthcoming lectures and events.