Honoring Anwar Al-Bunni in New York

By, Issam Khoury

Czech-Slovak Institute of Oriental Studies & CESD

Political literature shows “The Art of the Possible [1]” as a pragmatic case, far from ideal thought, but if this art adheres to the standards of constitutional rights of great nations, it will serve a basic idea, which is constitutional justice.

The “art of the possible” assumes the establishment of achievable goals and their implementation in the real world, which was done by lawyer Anwar al-Bunni[2], who adhered to the constitutional rights of a number of European countries, which authorized him with his team of volunteer lawyers to prosecute Syrian war criminals in European courts, where he succeeded in catching with a number of Syrian security personnel who tortured detainees in Syrian prisons without any mercy.

This made one him of the one hundred most important personalities in the year 2023, according to the rankings of The Time magazine, which prompted Syrian-American activists to organize a party in honor of him in New York City on Wednesday, April 26, 2023. This party was held at the house of businessman Asaad Jabara. Dr. Hicham Alnachawati [3], Director of the “The Syria Freedom Path” organization, presented a symbolic gift to Al-Bunni, and Issam Khoury, CEO of The Center for Environmental and Social Development, presented another honorary gift in the name of the Syrian-American Consultative Meeting.

The honorary meeting was attended by academic figures from Columbia, Princeton, and the City University of New York for journalism and postgraduate studies, in addition to legal experts, economists, public relations strategists, and media professionals, as well as high-ranking US government figures, in addition to the CEO of the Czech-Slovak Institute of Oriental Studies[4].

Syrian, European, Palestinian, Egyptian, and American from other states also attended the ceremony via Zoom App, and media and political dialogue were moderated by Ayman Abdel Nour[5]. This gave a state of social and popular solidarity, which clearly shows that the people and a large part of the intellectual leaders adhered to the idea of punishing criminals, especially if they are part of dictatorial regimes such as the Syrian regime which used Nazi torture tools to suppress his people who demanded freedom and justice.

This event coincided with the efforts of some governments to normalize relations with the Syrian regime, relying on the theory of “the Art of the Possible”, which sees the Assad government as one of the parties to the civil war with which they can negotiate, but those governments have completely ignored the extent of the violations committed by this bloody regime against its people and towards humanity.

Therefore, this honorary meeting came as a clear message from human rights advocates around the world, of the necessity of societal solidarity to protect human rights values, and to prevent dictatorships from penetrating into the political life of countries under the pretext of “the art of the possible.”

At the end of the meeting, copies of the book “Assad and Me” were signed, with an explanation that this book is a true testimony of the reality of the crimes committed against civilians inside the Syrian secret prisons, and it also contains accurate details about the social, political and economic life in the Syrian state before the Syrian revolution in 2011, And beyond.

[1] Time (November 18, 2022): “We’ve had lots of empathy; we’ve had lots of sympathies, but we feel that for too long our leaders have viewed politics as the art of the possible,’ the future Hillary Clinton said in a flat, Midwestern accent. ‘And the challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible.”

[2] Anwar al-Bunni (Born 1959) is a Syrian human rights lawyer.  He spent “most of his life” defending Syria’s political dissidents, often pro bono, and having sold his automobile and office to pay his bills as a result.

He became interested in defending dissidents after being beaten, bayonetted, and having his beard set on fire by Syrian soldiers during a military sweep of Hama in 1981.

He was head of the short-lived European Union-funded human rights training centre in Syria called the Center for Legal Research and Studies until it was shut down by the government following his 2006 arrest.

[3] Hicham Alnachawati, MD, MPH, CIME. A Medical Graduate of Damascus University Faculty of Medicine. Holds a Master of Public Health in Health Policy & Management from New York Medical College School of Public Health & Practice. He practices Urgent Care Medicine, Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Disability Medicine, and Legal Medicine in both New York & New Jersey. He is a Syrian American Activist, Humanitarian, Community Organizer, and Political Writer and Opponent of the Assad regime in Syria. He is the Founder and Director of the Syria Freedom Path, an Non for profit organization with a mission to support activism against the Assad regime’s tyranny, authoritarianism and oppression and, promote freedom, democracy, and the great American values and principles.

[4] Tomáš Križan, CEO, co-founder, and researcher

Expert on the integration of refugees in Turkey, and radicalization.

[5] Ayman Abdel Nour is a noted Syrian reformist, the editor-in-chief of All4Syria (Syria’s leading independent news outlet), and the president of the non-profit Syrian Christians for Peace. Ayman is trained as an engineer and economist. He has testified in front of the European Parliament and received numerous awards. Mr. Abdel Nour has provided consulting services on Middle East public policy to a variety of international organizations (such as UN and EU) and has been widely quoted in some of the most important publications in the international media, including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, CNN.com, MSNBC.com, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Time.com, FOX, Reuters, the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Le Monde, Le Figaro, and BBC News. He has lectured widely at prestigious universities, including Columbia University’s Middle East Institute at the School of International and Public Affairs in New York, Tufts University Cabot Intercultural Center, Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), Yale University, the University of California, Los Angeles International Institute Center for Middle East Development.

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