First Lady, Mrs. Asma al-Assad, held a dialogue meeting with students of Arab studies at Foreign Studies University in Beijing on language, human and cultural relations between countries, in the presence of a large number of professors and students and a number of ambassadors to China.
Mrs. Asma said: ‘From Damascus, the oldest inhabited capital in history, to Beijing, capital of the oldest civilizations, from Syria, cradle of the first alphabet, to China, the where the most ancient and diverse languages and dialects, I am here with you today, and I feel gratitude and pride for your hospitality, feel pride for my ability to address you in my mother tongue, and in turn, your great ability to understand it’
“We are all facing attempts to erase the national cultures of our people through multiple means but with a single content, aimed at the dissolution of identity and belonging,” Mrs. Asma said.
Mrs. Asma explained that the most powerful weapon to erase our identities is to attack the mother tongues of the people, and considered that occupying the language is the shortest way to occupy the conscience and thus take over independent decisions, destroy societies and erase identity.
Mrs. Asma stressed that languages survive through renewal, communication with other cultures, and up-to-date with present-day sciences and terminology, indicating that adhering to the national cultural heritage does not mean a call for isolationism against other cultures, but rather it is a call to adhere to the roots on one hand, and to communicate culturally with others one the other hand, and this is the essence of the Belt and Road Initiative that China launched a decade ago.
Mrs. Asma pointed out the amazing technical and scientific development that China and has achieved, in addition to preserving heritage, language and identity, thus it provided a model for development without dependency, and growth without assistance and economic advancement with full national dignity.
Mrs. Asma saluted the spiritual father of Arabic language in China, Professor Abdul Rahman Najoon and Syrian writer and poet Salama Obaid, who, with an elite group of Chinese professors, compiled the first dictionary of the Arabic and Chinese languages.
She also appreciated efforts of other Chinese intellectual figures who have enriched “Arabic Language Academy” in Damascus, the oldest Arab scientific academy.
Countries that preserve their identity and language, and reject submission and subordination, were and continue to be in the sights of colonialists for thousands of years until the present day.”
“My country, Syria, which fought a war and continues to fight in defense of its existence remains steadfast, and builds what was destroyed and plants what was burned and look forwards a bright future no matter how difficult the present is.”
Mrs. Asma thanked China for standing by Syria at international forums and contributing to preventing projects which were and are still being hatched against against independent countries.