By Manel Mselmi, Paris
Seven years ago, the Arab Spring took place in several Arab countries and had different impact on the lives of people especially in Syria in which so many people lost their homes and families and fled to Europe with a hope to find peace and stability. Syria crisis not only affected the Middle East but also Europe. For the last three years, a huge number of Syrian refugees crossed the mediterrean to reach a safe haven which happens to be Europe. Countries like Germany and France welcomed a huge number of asylum seekers but also had huge problems of implementing programs to welcome refugees.
Mohamed Izzat Khatab, a French and Syrian businessman, social entrepreneur and politician is a peace activist who puts his energy and wealth in the service of his homeland Syria and who works in parallel with European and international organisations to solve Syria crisis and establish peace and stability in the region. His “Khatab plan”, a kind of Marshall plan to rebuild the country, is a roadmap horizon to allow the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland in order to build a new Syria with its multiple communities and religions. His dream is to put an end to this war and humanitarian crisis, to allow children and young people to go back to schools and to empower young women and girls to get powerful political and business positions because they are the hope of this country.
Syrian women suffered a lot during this war, they lost children and relatives and sacrificed a lot to save the lives of their families. Born in a Sunni Muslim family in Damascus, Khatab made a fortune in the mining industry, tourism and real estate which is a family business. He believes that establishing peace in Syria comes from implementing dialogue and coexistence between the different religious and political communities. His involvement in peace actions and dialogues with Muslims, Christians and Jews in Europe stems from his belief that peace is a continuous process that should be built with Syrians with the support of international community.
As a matter of fact, he created in 2012 “Syria for all” and decided to meet European and international leaders to sensitize them about the critical situation in Syria and the need to find a solution regarding the refugee crisis. His NGO aims at providing legal, medical and psychological support to Syrian migrants who fled the war as well as helping them to integrate in Europe by taking language lessons or going to school and getting jobs.
Whether to build Syria or to help refugees in Europe, civil society organisations played a crucial role in solving the refugee crisis .”Syria for all” initiative seems to be a promising project which is led by a changemaker who may substitute the current regime in no time.