D66 Day of the Middle East: Stories of the Unusual Suspects
Join us on 15 september 2018, at Paushuize in Utrecht!
The 6th edition of the D66 Day of the Middle East will shine light on the forgotten struggles of the Middle East. On the stories of minorities struggling for emancipation, on forgotten conflicts and on the human perspective that is often left out in coverage of grand strategy and geopolitics. These stories will be told by our experts: academics, journalists, entrepreneurs and politicians, all with strong ties to the region. Their contributions will leave attendees with a broader perspective on development in the region, learning once again that the Middle East is more than just the daily headlines. Key-contributors to the event will be the acclaimed German-Iranian scholar Ali Fathollah-Nejad and successful Lebanese journalist Diana Moukalled.
Location: Paushuize (Kromme Nieuwegracht 49), Utrecht
Date: 15 September 2018
Tickets are available here.
09:30 – 10:00 Doors open, morning coffee
10:00 – 10:10 Welcoming remarks by Marietje Schaake
10:10 – 11:00 Opening speech by Ali Fathollah
11:00 – 13:00 Parallel sessions: round I
• The Rif People’s Protest Movement
• The Kurdish Question: Political Struggles and the Quest for Independence
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 – 15:00 Speech and Q&A with Diana Moukalled
15:00 – 17:00 Parallel sessions: round II
• Women and sexuality in Iranian society
• The Last Wall of Europe: Cyprus
17:00 – 17:30 Closing remarks
17:30 – 18:00 Drinks
About the plenary sessions:
In the last two years, we’ve seen major protests in the Rif region, in the northern part of Morocco. Riffians mainly protest against the socio-economic situation in their region — poverty, bad education, corruption, lack of health services. The Rif, mainly inhabited by Amazigh (Berbers), has been a marginalised region for decades, and has a long history of conflicts with the central Moroccan government. The large majority of Dutch-Moroccan citizens has its roots in the Rif region.
In this session, we will explore the situation in the Rif. What are the protesters striving for? In which (historical) context do we need to see the demonstrations, and the government’s response? What role does the Amazigh identity play in the protest movement? And what do the current developments mean for Dutch and European relationships with Morocco and the Rif region?
Session 2: The Kurdish Question: Political Struggles and the Quest for Independence
Whenever you hear news about ‘the Kurds’, it is usually in a context of political struggle and – often violent – conflict. Some are aware they form the largest ethnic minority in Turkey, Iraq and Syria, and realize that there are different militia’s fighting for a ‘Kurdish cause’. However, why is today’s situation as it is? What is the unique identity of the Kurdish people in the MENA-region, and how did it came to be? What is the relation of the Kurdish communities in with their host-states in the MENA region, and why is there not a ‘Kurdish nation.’
This session will give you a bird-eye view of the the ‘Kurdish question’, and give you the information you need to place current political developments in the historical context it deserves.
Session 3: Women and sexuality in Iranian society
This spring some courageous Iranian women decided to take off their hijabs in public places. A powerful statement by the part of Iranian society that usually receives limited attention. In geopolitics, women are not included in the dialogue which limits their political influence.
However, women fulfill an influential position in other parts of society. During this session, Balout Khazraei will reflect on the role of women in Persian culture. Through art and music participants learn and experience the power of Iranian women.
While women are struggling for emancipation and influence in society, The LGBT community in Iran faces even bigger challenges. Marieke Bakker will reflect on these challenges, explain their origin and will discuss future perspectives.
Session 4: The Last Wall of Europe
Cyprus the large island in the Mediterranean has experienced many conflicts and division in the past. It has been fought over, conquered ceded and reconquered on many occasions over thousands of years. It is, after all, at a geographical crossroads – a hop, skip and a jump from the Middle East. Cyprus is home to the longest-serving peacekeeping mission in United Nations history. It has been called a diplomatic graveyard, having frustrated generations of negotiators.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, its Greek and Turkish Communities and its capital Nicosia is separated by a buffer zone known as the “Green Line”. But unlike most conflict zones, Cyprus is more or less at peace and a popular tourist destination. Hundreds of thousands of people have crossed the line since travel restrictions were eased in 2003, in 2004 Cyprus joined the European Union. In 2004 UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan came close to a solution to this conflict. His solution was accepted by the Turks but heavily rejected by Greek Cypriots in referendum. In this session we shall discuss the history of the Cyprus conflict and the major obstacles on Cyprus path to peace. Cyprus is internationally seen as a model and case for other conflict resolutions in the world. In this session we will also reflect on the process and content of successful peace negotiations in conflicts. In the last part we will focus on the future and talk with a new generations of Cypriots of our sister party about how to move forward and how the reunification of Cyprus should look like.