- By: Mona Katoub
- updated: December 18, 2020
- reading time: 4 Minutes and 57 seconds
Mayada Qaddour, is from Saraqeb in Idlib. She holds a degree in English Literature from Aleppo University. She worked as a teacher before and during the revolution. Currently, she has a capacity building center, and she is a member of SWPM.
Mayada says that because Saraqeb was a conservative community, she didn’t take part in the protests at the beginning of the revolution. However, like other women, she opened her house for revolutionaries, the wounded, defectors, displaced people, media activists and Arab and foreign organizations. She used to solute demonstrators from the balcony of her apartment and throw roses on protesters and on the dead bodies of martyrs.
Mayada tried to continue her work as a teacher during the revolution, but as the shelling intensified, she had to leave her apartment in 2013, where she used to host the students, and she moved to their farm near Saraqeb. She started to help her father with agriculture work, then, after her return to Saraqeb, she opened a capacity building center.
Mayada became interested in politics when she joined the Women Now organization, participating in the meetings held by the organization with the local council members and citizens. Then she joined the Syrian Woman gathering. Mayada says that since she was a middle school student, she was interested in the Palestinian cause. So how can she not be effective in any way when it comes to her homeland Syria.
“I decided to join SWPM because it includes women with long experience in political activity, which encouraged me to be among them and learn from their experience. They all have one goal, which is to bring Syrian women into decision-making positions. In addition to that goal, they focus on all women issues and laws that may guarantee their rights.’’
Talking about challenges facing political work, Mayada says that they are plenty, but the most important ones are the lack of accepting the other and political ignorance because of the despotic regime that wants to keep its people ignorant of their rights so they don’t demand them. In addition, the lack of confidence, fragmentation and the lack of coordination between the military and political leaders of the revolution. As for the challenges facing women in their political work, Mayada believes that the most important one is the lack of political awareness, because Syrian women live in a masculine community that determines the role of women and marginalizes their opinions, because men, by nature, doesn’t accept women to excel or compete with with them. Needless to say, men won’t accept that when it comes to making decisions at the national level.
Mayada decided to join SWPM because it includes women with long experience in political activity, which gave her the motivation to be among them and learn from their experience. In addition to the presence of so many women who are distinguished in their respective fields, all with one goal which is to bring Syrian women into decision-making positions. In addition to that goal, they focus on all women issues and laws that may guarantee their rights. That is the kind of work that Mayada aspires to be part of.
Mayada expects SWPM to succeed in increasing the representation of women in political bodies up to 50%, as well as increasing political awareness of a large segment of women inside Syria through the trainings SWPM is holding, in spite of all the difficulties and challenges. Thus, there will be real participation of women in building the Syrian society. Mayada also hopes to see SWPM leading the political process in Syria one day.
“I dream of a free, democratic, pluralistic and civilized Syria that is free from all forms of corruption and hatred, whose citizens respect each other and where women will be equal to men in rights and obligations.”
Mayada asserts to continue defending our revolution and our cause, the Syrian people must have the will and determination and work hand in hand again. That is not an easy thing after all the fragmentations and divisions that hit the Syrian people in the past eight years. There is a need to educate people politically to confront all parties that are trying to exploit this fragmentation for their own interests at the expense of our country and revolution. “My belief that the land of Syria is our land; that we have the legitimate right that we must never give up for any price; that the oppressor should be held accountable no matter how long it takes, all of that give me the motivation to continue working in public affairs.” Says Mayada.
Mayada dreams of a free, democratic, pluralistic and civilized Syria that is free from all forms of corruption and hatred, whose citizens respect each other and where women will be equal to men in rights and obligations. A country where citizens have jobs opportunities that guarantee the decent life they deserve. Mayada calls upon the women of Syria to be resilient and strong in the face of all circumstances and challenges that they go through inside Syria or abroad. She tells them: support each other, do not give up, work hard, learn and educate yourselves politically, because you are the entire community rather than half of it. You are the ones who will build the future Syria and the next generations. Do not stop claiming your rights.
Mayada says that one of the most beautiful events she experienced during the revolution was the withdrawal of the regime’s army from Saraqeb, and dropping barrel bombs on civilians stopped. However, the experience of displacement, although for a short period, was the worst feeling and experience she has ever had because through her own experience, she got aware how people displaced from their homes and areas feel. She says that her body is living in a place, while her heart is living in a different place.