Ridha Saidi, former state minister for Economic and Social affairs in Tunisia,  former deputy prime minister in Syria Abdallah Al-Dardari, and Rabiha Diab, minister of Women’s Affairs in Palestine, discussed social justice and political Islam and its role in war-torn areas, such as Syria and Palestine. Carnegie’s Maha Yahya moderated the session. 

BETWEEN IDEOLOGY AND SOCIOECONOMIC POLICIES

One of Ennahda’s goals post-Arab spring protests was to fulfill the socioeconomic demands of the Tunisian people, explained Saidi. During Tunisia’s transitional period, while the government was unable to provide any real services during this vital transitional period, assistance was initiated by the private sector and civil institutions, he said.  Once a constitution was agreed upon between all political parties and sects, the promotion of development and job creation became the priority, aiming to provide equal job opportunities to all Tunisians, continued Saidi.

SOCIAL JUSTICE IN A POST-CONFLICT SYRIA

  • Pre-Conflict Syria: In the early 2000s, the Syrian regime determined that the state required a social contract renewal. Structural reform of the economy ensued, accompanied by open market policies, said Al-Dardari. Prior to the war in Syria, continued Al-Dardari, there existed a continuous conflict between transparency and corruption, citizenship and adherence, and freedom and control. 
     
  • Looking at a Post-Conflict Syria: Dialogue in a transitional period will be required between both the Syrian regime and the opposition, said Al-Dardari. He suggested that analytical studies must be conducted in order to investigate the question of decentralization in a post-war Syria. 

SOCIAL JUSTICE UNDER OCCUPATION

Citizenship changes meaning in different political scenarios, Diab said. In Palestine, it used to mean resistance and sacrifice. Under occupation, there is no growth or development, and in turn, no social justice, she stated. Dialogue, enhanced social cohesion, and gender equality is needed in Palestine. However, Diab added that the Arab world is growing more distant from Palestine, and thus weakening any initiative to achieve common goals and objectives.