24-01-14

Latest News Syria: Dr. Buthaina Shaaban, a woman with a vision

Shaaban: we came to Geneva to stop terrorism, bloodshed in Syria

Geneva, Jan 24, 2014 (SANA) - Presidential political and media advisor Dr. Buthaina Shaaban, Deputy Chairman of Syria’s official delegation taking part in Geneva 2 conference said on Friday that no force on land would be able to touch a little bit of Syria’s soil or target the dignity of any Syrian citizen.

Dr. Shaaban added in a statement to journalists in Geneva “We came to Geneva for the sake of our country, people and to stop terrorism, bloodshed through a political track that would be determined by the Syrians themselves, and we will not retreat”, clarifying that “because we believe that our army and people are the only ones who determine… and we represent them and the decision wouldn’t not be except for Syria and the Syrians ,”

She pointed out that “what is confirmed till today is that the coalition called /opposition/ has no issue of a homeland or people.

http://sana.sy/eng/21/2014/01/24/524089.htm

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A woman with a vision

Buthaina Shabaan was born in 1953 in a small town called Am-Massoudiah, which belongs to Homs. Graduating as the top student in Homs and receiving the fourth highest score in Syria for the secondary school exam in 1971, she met the new leader of Syria, Hafez Assad, who awarded her a scholarship to complete a university degree. Even though her familly was strict, her father, an Arabic teacher, allowed her to study at Damascus University. She was the first female student to major in English, and she received another grant to continue her studies in Britain. In 1977, she earned an MA degree from Warwick University, where she also finished her PhD degreee. Her PhD dissertation was on the English poet Shelley, who is well-known for his revolutionary political and poetic visions as in his poem 'Revolt of Islam,' about someone who has 'a resolution to confer the boons of political and intellectual freedom on his fellow-creatures'.

Demonstrating a great deal of fearlesness and independence, she maried, against the will of her family, an Iraqi national whom she met during her doctoral study in Britain.

After graduation, Shabaan taught for two years (1982-1984) in Algeria, before going back to Damascus to start a career as a professor in comparative women's literature and a writer exposing and agitating against the hindrances of women.

Shabaan's high achievements in school and her membership in the Ba'ath party from an early age attracted the attention of President Hafes Assads, who invited her to do a simultaneous translation for his meeting with former US Secretary of State, Warren Minor Christopher.

Dr. Assaad Al-Saleh is an Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at the Department of Languages and Literature & Middle East Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.