By Syria News Team (Originally in Arabic)
Syria’s first Vegan Congress was held on Saturday, July 30, Golden Year 13 (2016) in Sweida, a city in southwestern Syria. Organized by Mr. Rami Samman, the creator of the Vegan Forum in Arabic on Facebook, this highly successful event attracted an enthusiastic audience of more than 60 people. Many were devoted vegetarians or vegans, while others were from meditation or yoga schools.
Advertised through Facebook as a “meeting of vegetarians and vegans,” this gathering was also supported by vegan and animal rights groups. At the opening, Mr. Omar Morshed, an animal activist, spoke about the goal of the Vegan Congress. He explained why veganism is important, and presented many facts about how the vegan lifestyle is related to both spirituality and morality, and how it contributes to better health.
Ms. Ghada Abu Zeid, an agricultural engineer and animal rights activist, then discussed physical health, why the body needs amino acids, minerals, and vitamins, and how to secure these from plants. A question and answer session followed the presentations. Afterwards, all the attendees shared in the joy of eating delicious, cruelty-free food at the newly opened vegan restaurant, Vegan Land.
These meetings will now continue on a regular monthly basis, to exchange ideas and experiences, and to provide both information and assistance to all those wishing to adopt the noble and compassionate vegan lifestyle. As the group continues, it aspires to join the international organization, Vegan Life, which will help provide coverage in Arabic-speaking communities, and share the message of the many benefits of a plant-based diet with schools and universities and in every corner of Syria. In this way, the community of vegans will quickly grow, expanding the circle of goodwill in our country. May Heaven bless all nations with peace and prosperity, as more and more people adopt the harmonious vegan lifestyle.
The second Vegan Congress took place on September 10, Golden Year 13 (2016), in Sweida. Held in the delightful gardens of Fayhaa Park, the congress attracted an enthusiastic audience of more than 60 vegans and vegetarians of all ages.
Welcoming the guests, one of our Association members spoke about the many benefits of the vegan lifestyle and the importance of being positive. An open discussion followed, during which many guests talked about avoiding violence and abuse in all its forms, and protecting beings who are unable to protect themselves. Many facts were raised about how the vegan lifestyle not only contributes to better health, but also is a more moral way to live.
One physician explained why veganism is important to him and emphasized that we must remain kind and considerate to all. A young vegan activist shared his research that he had found no scientific evidence supporting the idea that humans are carnivorous by nature. Another attendee explained that the best diet for a mother to provide her children with is healthy vegan food. An agricultural engineer and animal rights activist talked about the necessity of abstaining from animal products such as leather, fur and honey.
Our Association members also served a delicious vegan soup containing rice, almond yogurt and potatoes. One young member sang beautiful songs, and an attendee played the oud and sang a few delightful Sufi songs. At the end of the meeting, everyone enjoyed delicious vegan food and sweet desserts. A farmer that attended offered large platters of fruit, all of which had been freshly picked from his farm.
We are thankful to Fayhaa Park management and Mr. Rami Samman, the founder of Vegan Life in 2012, whose kindness and assistance have helped to make this congress successful. These meetings will continue to be held on a monthly basis, expanding the circle of peace and mercy in Syria. May Heaven bless our country with love, peace and prosperity, as more and more people adopt the vegan lifestyle.
Another Vegan Congress was held on April 10, Golden Year 14 (2017) in Sweida, with more than 1,000 people attending. Organized by Vegan Life, this event included introducing a brochure on veganism in Arabic to the audience. In addition, healthy and delicious vegan food was served to attendees and also offered to passers-by.
Al Karma Radio and the Syrian Arab News Agency broadcasted highlights of the meeting. The leader of Vegan Life, who is also an animal rights activist, spoke to the media explaining that the the greatest goal of holding these Vegan Congresses is to widen the circle of love, mercy and peace. Affirming that those who adopt a plant-based diet have discovered the positive benefits to their health and general well-being, she also talked about her personal experience of suffering from a bleeding gastric ulcer and improperly functioning thyroid gland, and how she spent much time at hospitals and consulting doctors before she turned vegan. Since then, she has not needed any medicine at all. In addition, she discussed the apparent increase of many diseases and the loss of immunity due to meat consumption, as animals are injected with hormones, drugs and stimulants to make businesses more profitable.
Bravo, Sweida, for being a leader of veganism in the Middle East!
First Vegan Congress, Sweida, Syria – July 30, Golden Year 13 (2016)
Second Vegan Congress, Sweida, Syria – September 10, Golden Year 13 (2016)
Vegan Congress, Sweida, Syria – April 10, Golden Year 14 (2017)