The “Rural – City” Contradiction is also a Partitioning Factor
Salma Abdullah Salma Abdullah

The “Rural – City” Contradiction is also a Partitioning Factor

Some people like to carve out the issue of national identity and the issue of the country’s unity by choosing some of their aspects and shedding all the light on them, in exchange for marginalizing other aspects.

Among the many aspects that play a very important role in preserving the unity of the country or, on the contrary, its destruction, is the socio-economic aspect, which in turn includes a large number of aspects. Among these aspects, is that which is related to the nature of the relationship between the countryside and the city.

Within this aspect, we can mention some basic points within the Syrian particularity, which determine the shape of this relationship:

First: The method of distributing the investment budget across the country has always neglected the country’s peripheries and deprived them of actual development. One example of the strange expressions of this is what we have seen for many years of “preferential treatment” in university admission for the students from the so-called “developing governorates”. What is meant is that those students are at lower level compared to the rest of the country, so there is nothing wrong with admitting them to majors that require higher grades than the ones they got in their university exams. This goes beyond recognizing that these governorates are less developed than the rest of the country, to accepting that as a fait accompli and acknowledging that it will remain so.

Second: Reducing subsidies for agriculture, in parallel with lifting subsidies gradually and acceleratingly off fuels over the past two decades. More generally, economic liberalization that shifted between “tourism as the engine of growth” and “trade as the engine of growth” and so on, while neglecting agriculture and industry, and causing a major decline in agricultural production, and a retreat of its contribution to the domestic product. All this, of course, coincided with the rise of rural migration towards the city, or abroad.

The overall result of these and other policies has transformed Syria as a whole into a large countryside that contains almost half of the population, and a crowded city with the second half. The different governorates are the countryside, and Damascus and Aleppo are the city. In other words, the contradiction between the countryside and the city has transformed from a local issue within each governorate separately to a comprehensive national issue, and the contradiction between the countryside and the city in this sense has become one of the contradictions at the root of the ongoing conflict in one way or another. Without resolving this contradiction in favor of the plundered in the countryside and the city, and against their plunderers who are practically concentrated in the links among the various types of production and the economy in general, Syria’s unity will always be ready to explode.

(Arabic version)

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