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Syrian director slams syndicate for pro-regime stance

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Prominent Syrian director Haitham Haqqi lashed out at the Artists Syndicate in his country for its bias towards the regime and its organization of protests in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The syndicate is putting pressure on its members to go to pro-Assad rallies and at the same time it is totally overlooking the crimes committed by the regime against civilians,” Haqqi wrote on his page on the social networking website Facebook.

Haqqi explained that since the protests started against the regime eight months ago, he has been receiving messages from the syndicate calling upon its members to support Assad.

“I have never received any statement from the syndicate in defense of artists who were arrested or threatened although the majority of artists expressed their wish to have a multi- party system. This is in addition to the several artists that are paying the price of their outspokenness,” he said.

One of the main objectives of the “new Syria,” Haqqi explained, is to turn syndicates from institutions affiliated to the regime and its security bureaus to independent bodies that focus on protecting the members of its professions they represent and ensuring they prosper.

“Those syndicates can play a very important role in building a new Syrian democracy based on the principles of citizenship and the independence of institutions.”

Haqqi called upon the Syrian Artists’ Syndicate to stop sending invitations for what he called “applause rallies” that support the regime.

“This is not the job of a syndicate that represents one of the most noble of human occupations. Whoever wants to support the regime can do that as an individual and not in the name of artists,” he said.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)