For the first time in five years, Syria has held The Damascus International Fair, the Middle East’s first modern trade fair dating back to 1954.
Below is a video of the fair in 1969.
The fair saw companies from across the world, including from Europe come to the fair to show off their goods to international consumers including big businesses and fellow governments. The primary theme to this years fair was one of national revival and infrastructural renewal.
The big winners of the fair were China, Russia and Iran whose companies took centre state at the fair and will soon take a primary role in rebuilding the parts of Syria that have been damaged by years of war and foreign funded chaos.
For ordinary Syrians who attended, the fair was a symbol that their country is slowly returning to normalcy and that the secular government which provides for equal rights between religious and ethnic sects as well as equality between men and women is more determined than ever to build a modern country that reflects the real values of the stalwart Syrian people.
In addition to companies demonstrating their products, the fair also featured events displaying Syria’s rich cultural heritage.
Syrian political commentator Afraa Dagher reports,
“Damascus is alive and embraces its visitors again! After a five year cancellation because of the global war launched against Syria since 2011, the Damascus International Fair reopened, launching its 59th session. Forty-five countries have raised their flags in Damascus and joined this historic city in celebration.”
Challenging the war and the sanctions, these 45 countries joined the Damascus international fair. This occasion has the value of being an economic, cultural, social and artistic demonstration. Among the 23 countries who officially have joined the Fair are Russia, Iran, Iraq, China, and Venezuela. The Omani Chamber of Commerce paid an early visit to Damascus, on 8 August”.
“Prime Minister Emad Khamis started the occasion with his speech stating that his exhibition has a message: ”The will of Syrians for life was and is still stronger than terrorism,” adding that “it’s the victory flag of Life over murder, honesty over treason, right over wrong and sovereignty over dependency.” PM Khamis ended his speech by greeting the sacrifices of our brave army and our allies.
Dr Bouthina Sha’aban the senior presidential advisor in an interview to pan Arabic Almayadeen TV expressed that the re-holding of this exhibition is a symbol to the military and political crisis’ route, and it implies that the war is over and that we defeated the project of others in Syria (meaning the project of destroying Syria). This event is the start of the reconstruction and rebuilding of Syria. However she maintained that this victory doesn’t mean it’s a total victory. Full victory requires more sacrifices”.
Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban has previously described reconstruction efforts by Syria’s partners as the equivalent of a new Marshall Plan, referring to the funds the United States used to rebuild western and central Europe after the Second World War.
Dagher additionally writes,
“Syria also used to have another international events like Buildex International Building construction and advanced equipment. I have visited this great event once in 2010 before this sabotage war against my country. This war of which their masters aim was to kill the civilization in Syria so that they would stop its life in order to eliminate its cultural identity and history. They directed their savage rebels since the very beginning of the war to destroy the historical locations as well as the modern ones!
In February, the Khallouf Trading Company announced the reopening of its manufacturing plant in Hama, in partnership with the Chinese Dongfeng Motor Company, and the launching of two new vehicles, a sedan and an SUV.
The Damascus International Fair session opened 17 August and continues through 26 August”.
While winning the war against radical Salafist/Wahhabi terrorism is crucial, securing a peace that is based on the future prosperity of the Syrian people is essential. The Syrian government, its state partners and private businesses and entrepreneurs from around the world seem to determined to view the challenges of post war Syria as mutual opportunities.
Below is the videos of members of the French delegation celebrating Syrian unity with locals.