Saturday, 29 October 2011
I am sure you are already aware of the case of Rafah Nached, 66, the first woman psychoanalyst in Syria who has been imprisoned in Damascus since 10 September. She is in poor health and has never been involved in subversive political activity. She has worked to help people traumatised by the situation in her country and was arrested whilst boarding a plane to Paris, where her daughter was about to give birth. We understand she has been held in solitary confinement for seven weeks and I am writing to ask you to intercede on her behalf.
The European Parliament has voted to support a resolution on her behalf on Thursday 27th Oct. This is great news, but please could you also take up her case outside the EU. Could you please let me know when and how you are planning to do this and keep me informed of any progress towards her release?
Her colleagues in this country are determined to keep this case as high profile as possible until she is released. With the instability in Syria at the moment, it is important that the regime there is aware that this woman, and others in a similar situation, are known by name to the international community as innocents caught up in the disturbances through no fault of their own. The last phase of any dictatorship is very dangerous for those who are the captives of that regime, so we think it is essential that we try to get her released as soon as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you about Rafah Nached as soon as possible,
Friday, 28 October 2011
Find the entry for debate on the Resolution for Rafah from 16.11 until 16.26 on 27th Oct. Click the plus sign on the left, get the drop down list of speakers. You can click on the camera icon on the right hand side, and watch a recording of the debate and hear a simulatenous translation, which may be more easy to understand than the written text that I have posted in the previous entry.
It only takes 15 minutes - please do take this chance.
Arbitrary detention of Rafah Nached resembles a violation of all norms of civilization in the field of human rights. The allegation of efforts to destabilize the country the person organizing workshops for victim support services reporting criminal activity to the authorities is extremely absurd, and even borders on paranoia. I therefore appeal to Syrian authorities to immediately release the Rafah Nached and stop the persecution of citizens for humanitarian relief.
I also appeal for the release of political prisoners and journalists. Rafah is a Nached actively engaged in the dialogue between the Syrians. So I hope to continue such activities on the basis of its achievements.
Principle, but I refuse to abuse of the European Parliament to support additional unnecessary and cruel wars. If we go on the assumption that war is armed conflict with more than a thousand deaths per year, then in Syria is already under way civil war. The state is fighting with the rebels, who have support from abroad. The Brussels is again built on one of the warring parties. And we humbly re-publish this way, without knowing exactly who the rebel side is sometimes inappropriate. Our wholehearted support of Mrs. Rafah Nached blind can also be engaging in a campaign to promote hatred.
I believe that the role of the European Union is brokering peace. Let's at least not now vote on the exemption Nachedové Rafah, but also for peace.
In this case, we are talking about a Syrian psychoanalyst, who was leaving Syria to go to France, where where her daughter is about to give birth in those days, and was stuck with spurious accusations by the Syrian authorities. Still, from the prison, writes that there (and while the French language) Je découvrir maintenant une part caché de la société dans la vie et je laquelle dont je suis responsable. I think these words are admirable Nached Rafah, the way she, even in prison, feels co-responsible for their society. The one where there are now 4,000 dead during the Spring Arabic in Syria, 7,000 missing, 22,000 arrested, 6,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 10 000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, 7,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan.
I think it's very important that the EU establish, requires a commission of inquiry to know what's going on with human rights activists in Syria. It was said many times here about double standards, I believe we must have the same honesty when talking about the case in Syria, as in Bahrain, as in Libya. That's what we try to do this Parliament. It is this line that we follow and we should ask the Ashton and the Commission represented here by Ms. Kroes.
It is for humanitarian reasons we ask today not only the Syrian government, upon which we must say, we have very little influence, but also to all who approach: our Chinese friends, who we mentioned earlier, the Arab League, who met with Bashar al-Assad, to all those with whom the EU relations, to ensure that these completely innocent people are released and also that all those who are active today to help them - aid agencies, etc.. - could at least do humanitarian work.
I urge that Mrs. Rafah Nached is released. There are voices all over for her release, you know. Catherine Ashton made a statement about it, even Carla Sarkozy wrote about it. Well, we also say today that the Syrian government that is enough.
According to the Treaty of Lisbon promoting, protection and security of human rights defenders must be given priority in the European Union's relations with third countries and included in the foreign policy of the Union. We must clearly define and apply severe sanctions against third countries committing serious human rights violations.
I think that what we experienced as observers of the Arab spring, asks us to formulate in this House the supposition that before our eyes is played a very important act in the history of the world. For behold, we learn that those who said that democracy and freedom are predestined to some civilizations, some religions, some cultural circles, while others have not developed into democracy: they were wrong. Today, our Arab brothers are paying with blood for the fact that demand freedom. It's a great sign that freedom is for all and democracy for all .
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
2009 - 2014
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
A Syrian psychoanalyst, Rafah Nached, has been imprisoned by the authorities since early September, apparently for conducting a seminar on fear. Psychoanalysts worldwide have protested at the abuse of human rights on the part of the Syrian government that this represents. There follows UKCP's letter to all the MEPs in the country, sent on October 25th 2011 in time for the debate on the matter in the European Parliament on October 27th 2011.
I write as the Chair of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) concerning the incarceration by the Syrian authorities, on utterly spurious grounds, of the psychoanalyst Rafah Nached.
UKCP's 7,000 members include 1,500 psychoanalysts, but all of us are appalled that Rafah Nached has been imprisoned for doing no more than performing her academic and clinical functions. It is a gross abuse of human rights and we agree with the call for as stringent action as possible in connection with this matter.
There is an extra dimension to this scandal. Psychoanalysis, in common with all the psychotherapies, is critically concerned with freedom of mind. Beginning at the heart of Europe at the end of the nineteenth century, the insights and approaches of psychoanalysis have spread to many areas of the world. But the heritage is European and the discipline is one of the great creations of European culture. It therefore behoves the European Parliament to take the matter as seriously as possible.
Professor Andrew Samuels
Chair, United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy
Monday, 24 October 2011
You can email him personally
|European Parliament |
Dr. Charles Tannock MEP
Willy Brandt 04M081
Tel: +32 228 47870/ 46015
Fax: +32 228 49870
|London Constituency Office|
1A Chelsea Manor Street
London SW3 5RP
Tel: +44 20 7349 6946
Fax: +44 20 7351 5885
Personal Assistant: Dr Silvia Janicinova
Please email Dr Tannock and ask him to use all the powers at his disposal to, firstly, condemn the
imprisonment of an elderly woman by the Syrian regime, and secondly to request that she is released as soon as possible. That someone is held prisoner because of her attempts to help her fellow citizens must be challenged. Please stand up for her human rights and the rights of all innocent people targeted by the Syrian government.
Date: Sat 29 October 2011
Amnesty is joining with British Syrians in Solidarity for a demonstration in support of Syrian protesters and human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic. Please come and show your support in solidarity and defiance.
12.00 - Assemble at Paddington Green, London W2 1LG
12.45 - March sets off
Down Edgware Road
Down Park Lane
2.30 - Arrive at Syrian Embassy in Belgrave Square Embassy , SW1X 8PH London
2.45 - Rally begins
4.00 - Rally ends
Confirmed to speak so far:
Kate Allen - Director of Amnesty International UK
More speakers being lined up including former Prisoners of Conscience, Trade Unionists,...A
I have contacted fellow Conservative London MEP Dr Charles Tannock on [your] behalf who is Foreign Affairs and Human Rights spokesman for the Conservatives in the European Parliament. Mr Tannock assures me that he is looking into this issue and will provide an answer to you in due course.
Dr Tannock´s office has stated to me that this issue will be discussed this Thursday afternoon, when debates on cases of breeches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (rule 122), are routinely debated in the European Parliament's plenary chamber in Strasbourg. The case of Rafah Nached in Syria is point number 3 on the agenda.
To raise further awareness, under the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure (Rule 117, 1), I have also tabled a parliamentary question on your behalf to The EU´s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Catherine Ashton.
I will expect to hear from the European Commission in 6 weeks time (rule 117, 4) and the reply will be posted on my website in due course. http://www.marinayannakoudakis.com/ . Questions posed and answers received are also published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Please do not hesitate to contact me again in the future.
This is from Denis McShanes' blog, the link for which is here
Former Europe Minister, Denis MacShane has called on the Syrian authorities to free Rafah Nached, a 66-year-old psychoanalyst who was arrested on 10 September 2011 at Damascus Airport when she was on a family visit to Paris.
MacShane raised his concern about this case as news came through that Russia and China had vetoed a UN resolution drafted by European democracies and the United States calling for more sanctions against the Syrian regime.
“Russia has treated with contempt David Cameron who returned from Moscow recently without any commitment by the authoritarian rulers of Russia to support human rights, rule of law or democracy,” said MacShane.
Rafah Nached is a well-known Syrian psychoanalyst, trained in Paris, who has been held in solitary confinement. She is allowed to two weekly visits only. Her health has been significantly deteriorating, to the extent that she is now unable to stand for more than 30 minutes. She has a serious heart disease which needs to be treated.
‘This disgraceful arrest of a doctor who has spent her life helping people with severe mental problems and is not involved in politics shows how sick the Bashar al-Asad regime has become. She should be released so that she can treat Bashar and try and cure him and his associates of the delusion that cruelty and repression are the way forward for Syria,’ said MacShane.
The British MP, a former Europe Minister, has written to the Syrian Ambassador in London and to Foreign Secretary William Hague asking for his support.
‘President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Cameron have been proud to organise photo-calls in Tripoli but they are doing nothing to stop the repression in Syria and Bahrain. Mme Nached is amongst the thousands of innocent people arrested in Syria. I hope her case get publicity in Britain as well as France as a symbol of the cruelty of the Syrian regime,’ said MacShane.
Syrian psychoanalyst arrested
- Roger Litten & Betty Bertrand-Godfrey
Rafah is 66 and has heart disease for which she needs medication and we have recently received news that her health is deteriorating. She has been imprisoned and placed in solitary confinement by the Syrian authorities for practising and transmitting psychoanalysis with her fellow countrymen in Syria. Beyond our concern for Rafah herself, we are concerned for what this imprisonment represents for humanity; the principle of psychoanalysis is speech, the freedom of speech, and thus our fight to save Rafah is also a fight to save the freedom of speech as fundamental to psychoanalysis as well as our humanity. We refuse to be silenced.
|Subject: VP/HR — Forced disappearance at Damascus airport of Syrian psychoanalyst Rafah Nached|
| On 10 September 2011, the well-known Syrian psychoanalyst Rafah Nached, aged 66, was arrested at Damascus airport as she was about to take a flight to Paris in order to join her daughter, who was about to give birth there. Rafah Nached is the first woman to work as a psychoanalyst in Syria. Her inclusive and pluralist humanitarian and scientific work has brought her international renown and she is known to have a close connection with France. She is not, however, known to be a political activist. Her family have received no news of her since the day of her arrest.|
This disappearance has mobilised human rights associations and fellow psychoanalysts around the world, and an appeal has already been made to the Syrian Government and police force to provide information and immediately release Rafah Nached. The situation is made more serious by the fact that she suffers from a heart condition requiring regular medication.
The political situation in Syria is worsening, with the brutal repression of popular protests having caused numerous deaths, a situation which continues. This disappearance, which has been taken up by voices around the world not only calling for Rafah Nached to be freed but also speaking up on behalf of all of those who have disappeared in Syria, is an example of the widespread difficulties faced by the people of Syria.
Does the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs intend to intercede on behalf of this professional person who has connections with one of the Member States, invoking the defence of universal human rights? Will the EU impose further sanctions on Syria in response to the escalation of violence in that country?
|Question for written answer to the Commission |
Oriol Junqueras Vies (Verts/ALE) and François Alfonsi (Verts/ALE) 4 October, E-008670/2011
A judge has rejected the request for acquittal, presented by Rafah's advocate. She thus remains incarcerated indefinitely in the same conditions. According to her husband, her state of health is stabilised and she keeps her head high.
This information reached the support committee of Rafah Nached through the channels of Mrs Houriya Abdelouahed
from Mr. Fethi Benslama, the Director of the Faculty of Human Clinical Sciences of the University Paris-Diderot, Paris 7. He is a member of the Board of Directors and wrote to his colleagues:
Dear colleagues, Here is the motion that I proposed yesterday afternoon to the Board of Directors of the University of Paris 7 for the release of Rafah Nached, and which was passed unanimously. I will send it to all French universities, and to the greatest possible number of European universities. It is up to you to decide how to relay this message. Cordially
Motion of the Board of the University Paris-Diderot Paris 7, for the liberation of Rafah Nached.
The Board of Directors of the University Paris-Diderot Paris 7 and its President urge the Syrian authorities for the immediate release of Rafah Nached, psychoanalyst and former student at their university, who is unjustly detained since September 10th and whose health condition is alarming. They join the increasing number of voices who demand an end to violence and the end of all arbitrary detentions in Syria. They call upon their colleagues in French and European universities to join in this call. Paris, October 18th, 2011
...We have checked with our officials in Damascus who have no specific information about this case. Although, they have heard that Mrs Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has taken an interest. Our Embassy in Damascus is following events closely and officials raise the issue of arbitrary detentions regularly with the Syrian Government. However, our capacity to lobby on specific cases, especially on behalf of non-British Nationals, is extremely limited.
[and handwritten addition:] But we will keep an eye on this, to see if there is anything we can do.
Signed Alistair Burt, Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Saturday, 22 October 2011
Before catching up with all other details, this seems extremely important to post, just received from Simona Revelli, College of Psychoanalysts UK, thank you Simona:
CAMPAIGN FOR THE LIBERATION OF SYRIAN PSYCHOANALYST RAFAH NACHED
Rafah Nached's case will be debated by the European Parliament on 27th October, at 15:00. Following the debate (at 16:00) the EP will vote on a resolution (see http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/file.jsp?id=5966392 ). This is a very important development!
How could you influence the outcome?
1. Urgently write to your MEPs (by 25th October if poss). Your letter could highlight the circumstances and your objections, and should ask MEPs to vote for a resolution that i) condemns the Syrian regime for crimes against humanity, and ii) demands the immediate release of Rafah. The following link will let you post online the same letter to all your MEPs: http://www.writetothem.com/?keyword=MEPS&creativeid=1424683179&gclid=CIrH3L6j_KsCFUNO4QodvhOKjg
2. Demonstrate outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg during the debate and vote.
3. Urgently circulate this announcement as widely as possible.
4. Ask for this announcement to be urgently posted on the website of your organisation.
We think that the debate and voting will be shown live on EbS+ Channel (part of European Commission Audiovisual Services):
Monday, 10 October 2011
Apologies for confusion - this link does indeed still lead to the BBC Panorama programme.
Sunday, 9 October 2011
Thursday, 6 October 2011
Dear IPA Members,
Some of you may no doubt have already heard about the plight of the Syrian analyst, Rafah Nached. She was detained by Syrian authorities as she attempted to board a flight to Paris on the 10th of September and she is currently being held in a women’s prison near Damascus. Apparently, the Syrian authorities have construed her efforts to help Syrians who have suffered traumatic loss/anxiety during the recent upheavals as subversive. Rafah is a French-speaking, Lacanian analyst, who received her degree in clinical psychology from the University of Paris-Diderot. She is the first female psychoanalyst to practise in Syria and is a founder of the Damascus School of Psychoanalysis. As analytic colleagues, we share a deep concern for Rafah’s well-being (the situation is made more pressing due to the fact that she is suffering from cancer, heart trouble, and high blood pressure). We hope that she will soon be released and that she will be able to return to her family and practice. I am aware of two on-line petitions that seek her release: (http://www.lapetition.be/en-ligne/Liberez-Rafah-Nached 10402.html; http://www.oedipe.org/phpPetitions/index.php?petition=3). The Presidents of the SPP (Société Psychanalytique de Paris) and the EPF (European Psychoanalysis Federation) have signed a petition of behalf of their organizations. I will shortly sign a petition as President of the IPA. With best wishes, Charles
Professor Charles Hanly IPA President
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
This is a really rough translation, heavily reliant on Google Translation Software, of a text which you can read in the original French on http://liberationrafahnached.org/ It really is very rough in places, and I apologise, and appeal to anyone with a better grasp to let me know if I have misrepresented anything here. JL
[Pierre Bruno met Rafah Nached about four years ago in Paris, and having worked with her on psychoanalysis, became friends. He would like to pay tribute to her in her effort to put psychoanalysis to work in her context.]
Rafah Nached, now 66, first studied philosophy in Lebanon at a time when it was rather exceptional for a woman to do graduate studies in this field. She then went to Paris, where she undertook a long psychoanalytic training, and at the same time studied psychology in Paris VII, to obtain a degree in clinical psychology. She could have stayed in Paris, especially since her husband, a history professor and now an acknowledged specialist Sumerian writing, was working at the College de France, in France. However, they preferred to return to Syria, because of there roots, this was a courageous choice, and certainly not comfortable. So, in Damascus, Rafah began practicing – she was the first woman psychoanalyst in Syria, perhaps in the Middle East. She has done this for 27 years. At the turn of the century, in 1999-2000, she founded the psychoanalytic school of Damascus, joined by some analysts and some others (doctors, educators, psychiatrists, psychologists) who engaged with the Freudian discovery.
With a determination unusual in a context in which the least we can say was that psychoanalysis was an unknown land, she organized seminars, extended invitations to foreign analysts, traveled to Paris regularly to update her knowledge of psychoanalysis and to learn about hospital practices concerning in particular the psychoanalytic clinic children.
It was in this context that I met her a first time, during one of her stays in Paris. It was quite a meeting: I was immediately sensitised to the accuracy and the radicalism of her appreciation of psychoanalysis. Hers was not a pedantic sophistication, nor a sweetness, but she seized it all the same. She made it possible for her analysands to discover how to live where their subjective satisfaction opened up a relationship to the other. So, our ties were strengthened. I was invited to the first seminar in spring 2007 in Damascus, with Isabelle Morin and Dominique Le Chevallier, we talked with our thirty Syrian colleagues, about little Hans, phobia, and the paternal metaphor. With an admirable translator, we were able not only to interact with a quality and a level we never imagined, but also to discover new metaphors. For example, a word which in French can mean penis, in Arabic also designates the body of a deceased husband, which as is known, must not be seen by his wife, the widow.
Seminars were held, also in Damascus, with colleagues from the Association of Psychoanalysis Jacques Lacan. Finally, Rafah Nached and I conceived the idea of a conference in Damascus on psychoanalysis: conducted in November 2010 before an audience of over 200 people (including some forty French psychoanalysts), who were riveted to their seats for two and a half days - the interest of the conference was great. Rafah Nached, less timid than I, had chosen the title: feminine and mystical experience in psychoanalysis. It must be said that she was fascinated by the great mystic of Islam, Hallaj. She had given me a little book where some of his texts were translated and I was almost forced to buy - and read - the sum of four volumes devoted to Louis Massignon had Hallaj. Mysticism, it should be remembered, is not always looked on well by orthodox religion. I must say, to be truthful, the host of Syria, and its authorities, was impeccable. Nothing was done to prevent exchanges that were sometimes on intimate matters, sexual, or on the status of women or religion. The Damascus press gave the event a wide positive response. René Major and I were interviewed extensively on Syrian television, and this in an atmosphere of sympathy sensitivity.
Then, everything turned for the worst. A few days before her arrest at the airport in Damascus, Rafah Nached wrote and phoned to tell me she had decided, as a psychoanalyst, to open a place to speak with groups in which each regardless of their opinion on the political situation could state, freely, the way he lived these events and in particular the fear that he could feel. She made a courageous and risky choice, but definitely informed by her conception of psychoanalysis. I might add, which is not secondary, that her objective in doing so was to contribute to peace, like all her colleagues with whom I spoke. Today, after five days of terrible ordeals in an interrogation center, she is in a women's prison, a prison of common rights in Douma, a suburb north of Damascus, awaiting trial.
A humanitarian gesture could still release her, since she is innocent except for holding onto the dignity of her position as analyst. A small woman, you say?
Thanks to Betty Bertrand for alerting me to this information, which comes from http://liberationrafahnached.org/
Monday, 3 October 2011
Rt Hon William Hague, MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
International petition - send email with name, profession, city/country to firstname.lastname@example.org
Great archive of material, news, pictures, mainly in French
blogsite in Five Languages
La Regle du Jour - not the tremendous 1939 film by Jean Renoir, but a contemporary literary journal directed by French philosopher and writer Bernard-Henry Lévy. Here you will find, in French, a petition, information, and messages of support for Rafah from Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Naom Chomsky
A Belgian Petition - with a translation in English.
University Paris 7: call for her release
A List of Texts written by Rafah
The Daily Star, Lebanon - 13 September 2011 (in English)
Article in Le Monde newspaper, Fr, 15 September 2011
Article in Liberation newspaper, Fr, 15 September 2011
Article in El Pais (Spanish) 13 September 2011
Twittbon - maybe someone can give more info this?
The Oedipe petition (already mentioned in a previous blog, but included here again)
The College of Psychoanalysts - UK
The British Psychoanalytic Council
I was alerted to this letter from Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (published last night, 2 Oct) by my colleague Victoria Woollard in Paris. I have run it through the Google translation softwar and tried to iron out the oddities - it is not 100% accurate, but I think it has the spirit at least of the message, which can be consulted in French by clicking here. JL An article in Al Arabiya (in English) reports the letter, click here.
Dear Dr. ABDALLAH,
I learned that your wife, Dr. Rafah NACHED, disappeared on the night of Sept. 10, and you were five days without knowing what had happened to her. It is not difficult to imagine the anguish you and your family lived through during these moments.
Since then, you have been warned that she was arrested by military security services, and had been imprisoned. You have the right to make two visits to see her of a half-hour per week. The last time you saw that she was too exhausted to stand the time of the visit. She suffers from heart problems, and those who know her are worried about her health.
I am appalled by what is happening. I saw that Rafah NACHED has many friends in Paris, where she trained as a psychoanalyst. It seems inconceivable that a clinician who is dedicated to treatment and study, is a threat to public order and security of the state.
Rafah NACHED, a free and accomplished woman, whose fame is international, whose life and honor the work of Syria, Syrian and Arab women and all women, knows today a kind of injustice. Therefore I hope that those who can go to her aid will do so without waiting any longer.
Dear Doctor Addallah, since the arrest of Rafah NACHED, your granddaughter has been born. Without doubt you will tell your wife. But in her cell where she is imprisoned, she is not alone. Thousands of friends, known and unknown, think about her every day around the world, and will not cease to act so that very soon she will be free again, and will be able to embrace the small Indya.
With all my admiration for the courage of Rafah and yours, I send you to both my feelings of solidarity and deep sympathy.
Saturday, 1 October 2011
EUROPEAN UNION Brussels, 23 September 2011 A 375/11
Statement by the spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative, on the situation of Rafah Nashid in Syria
The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:
"The High Representative expressed today her concern about the situation of Rafah Nashid, a renowned Syrian psychoanalyst, arrested on 10 September at Damascus airport. Mrs. Nashid is well-known for treating victims of psychological trauma as well as for her active engagement in favour of dialogue between all Syrians. The arrest of Mrs. Nashid, 66, is even more unacceptable given her precarious health condition.
The High Representative calls for the immediate release of Rafah Nashid and of all those arbitrarily detained and arrested.
The High Representative renews her previous calls for an immediate end to repression and violence against the Syrian people and peaceful protesters."
FOR FURTHER DETAILS: Michael Mann +32 498 999 780 - +32 2 299 97 80 - Michael.Mann@eeas.europa.eu Maja Kocijancic +32 498 984 425 - +32 2 298 65 70 - Maja.Kocijancic@ec.europa.eu COMM-SPP-HRVP-ASHTON@ec.europa.eu www.eeas.europa.eu
Le Monde, Le Figaro, Liberation, Lorient, Lejour Alsafa
About the arrest of Mrs. Nached Rafah, Syrian psychoanalyst
You have recently published information on the arrest of the Syrian analyst Rafah Nached (66 years old who has health problems) at the airport in Damascus, 10 September 2011. She is still being held five days after her dissappearance at the hands of the military security services. Thank you for all the clear and correct information that you have published to support our request for her release. However, we want to inform you that Madame Nached has never exercised any political activities or any kind of activity other than the work of psychoanalysis. At the beginning of the dramatic events currently taking place in Syria, she undertook a project working with group therapy with a colleague, also a Jesuit psychoanalyst. This work was based on psychodrama and took the place of prayer of the Jesuits in Damascus. One day, an AFP journalist witnessed a scene of psychodrama on fear. Following that, he published an article on psychodrama, and although he had been asked not to name names of those present, he mentioned the name of Madame Rafah in his article. You will find enclosed the article from AFP and the correspondence between Madame Nached and the journalist Sammy Ketz, an article which caused her arrest certainly and has put her life in danger. We want you to give your testimony in this matter to help us get her released. As for the newspaper L'Orient le Jour, it published a cartoon and provided her name, thus adding fuel to the fire and increasing the danger of her life in prison. Thank you for your attention and we ask that you publish this letter in your journal. Abdullah Faisal Professor of History at the University of Damascus Mrs. Mari Rafah Nached
--------------------- Rafah Nached IS jailed in a women's prison. She Is Allowed Two weekly visits (duration: 30 minutes). Her Health is more and more Worrying. Her husband (Professor Faisal Abdallah) Told Me That today visited Her. However, Rafah was unable to remain standing for the 30 minutes of their meeting. We have put petitions in circulation, a number of collected signatures. This is not enough. Rafah is accused of promoting upheaval, promoting the overthrow of the government and disrespect for public order. She risks seven years in jail. Houria Abdelouahed Université Paris Diderot.
You can write to your MP (find their contact details via this link) and ask them to write to the Rt. Hon. William Hague MP, the Foreign Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. My MP Tessa Jowell did that as soon as she received my email.
Join the petition, send you name, profession/title, and City/Country to:
if you can read French, click here for link to petition and news
Rafah Nached, a French-speaking Syrian psychoanalyst, received her degree in clinical psychology from the University of Paris-Diderot, and was the first female psychoanalyst to practise in Syria. She recently founded the Damascus School of Psychoanalysis, in collaboration with French colleagues.
Nached was one of the organisers of weekly meetings for Syrians of all backgrounds and political affiliations to discuss their concerns in the face of a deadly crackdown by the security forces on six months of protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
This report from the Digital News Service SJ
Vol. XV, n. 16 | 6 September 2011
Published: September 8, 2011
SYRIA - At the Jesuit centre, in the heart of the city of Damas, the psychodrama begins every Sunday with a scene in which six people take part, from among the fifty or so who have gathered in the place. Taking centre stage in the room they discuss audibly a particular theme: this is meant to open the debate.
On that day they focalize on 'religious fear'. These Syrians belonging to various religious denominations - most of them coming from the middle class - (some supporters and some adversaries of Bachar al-Assad), meet each week, right from the early days of the anti-regime civil uprising, in order to exorcise a feeling they have all in common: fear.
"The paradox is that, in Syria, everybody is afraid. Why do the regime strongmen use violence and repression? Because they are afraid of loosing power. And the people in the street: do you think they are not afraid? They are very much so but they march down the streets all the same" says the psychoanalyst Rafah Nached, a co-initiator of the project.
Syria is a pluri-confessional country: Sunnites are the majority, ahead of the Alawites, the group that is holding power. The Christians are statistically third. "The population is quite aware of the risks of confessional clashes. You, you seem to suppose that the people will take a revengeful attitude, but this is not inevitable. The uprising is peaceful and refuses to get drawn into sectarian violence" retorts a Druze participant, Mayssan. She adds: "Personally, what I am afraid of, is a foreign intervention. This would lead to the breaking up of our country, as happened in the former Yugoslavia".
Then Zeina, a Christian, intervenes hesitantly: "I think that the opposition is divided. There are some who are enlightened and aware of what is going on, and the others who are at the same time more religious minded and less educated".
The group listens with attention. Suddenly Alaa, the Christian, tells of a recent experience: "Due to my upbringing I had prejudices against Muslims. At home I was always told not to receive them in our house. At the beginning I was in favour of the regime, but after seeing all these people killed I went to demonstrate". He was speaking fast, as if in need of extirpating something from himself. "I joined the rally, in Douma, in the suburbs of Damas, and those people who at home were talked about as 'rabble' kept me in hiding as the security forces were chasing me". "I was afraid of falling into their hands" continues the 20 year old young man.
[end of the scene].
Follows one minute of silence, to allow everyone to recollect him/herself. Then each participant is invited to speak, in turn.
Father Rami Elias, psychoanalyst, and in charge of the Jesuit residence that receives the group, explains : "There is no question to discuss politics or get involved in it but rather make space for everyone to speak of the fear he experiences, in order to share and canalize it in such a way that it does not become a new source of violence".
Read more on The Daily Star :: Lebanon News
Rafah's plight was announced on the morning news, Journal 9h00, on French public radio (France Inter), about 6 minutes and 25 seconds in to the show. Listen on http://www.franceinter.fr/player There was an interview with a spokesperson, Agnès Levallois, a journalist specialist of the Middle East, who explained Rafah's arrest in reference to the groups she was organising for Syrian people to talk about their fears.
My thanks to Victoria Woollard in Paris, for alerting us to this.