By cross-referencing press records, dissertations and declassified material, Matthieu Rey explains the foundations of contemporary Syria and its turbulent history. He encourages us to follow the still uncertain future development of a political community grouping diverse populations, men and women settling and organising their existence within a certain territory.
He tells of the revival of the countryside around the towns and cities to the detriment of the nomads, of the migrations of the Druze from Lebanon to Syria, of the mountain people to the plains and of those from the countryside to the towns, but he also gives a political account, interspersed with the revolutions and wars destined to give rise to a State whose history was revealed through the revolutionary crisis. Since 2011, Syria, the private preserve of the Assad family, has been at the heart of dramatic international events, torn apart by civil war.
Is its history not in the end that of hopes, clashes, trials, expectations, struggles and violence, and of projects shared by groups of people trying to create conditions in which to live together, in which everyone has a place?
Matthieu Rey is head of research at the CNRS and a research fellow at the Collège de France, studying the question of the construction of the State in the Arab and Persian Orient.
Translated from the French by Fay Guerry.