FREE-Syria: In 1953 a unique idea was proposed in South Africa: ask citizens across the country what their hopes and dreams were for the future. The African National Congress (ANC), in cooperation with the South African Indian Congress, the South African Coloured People’s Organization, and the South African Congress of Democrats created the National Action Council (NAC) to do just that. The NAC recruited South Africans from all walks of life and trained more than 50,000 volunteers. Surveying continued until 1955, when representatives from across South Africa went to Kliptown to help create the Freedom Charter. The Freedom Charter was adopted by the ANC and its associating organizations that same year.
In the following decades, the Freedom Charter was distributed to every corner of South Africa and became a symbol for hope and unity for the people. Due to apartheid, the Freedom Charter could not be used in an official political capacity until the end of apartheid in 1994. The Freedom Charter formed the bases for many articles in South Africa’s Post-Apartheid Constitution.
FREE-Syria recognized the influential nature that such a document can have and proposed creating a Syrian Freedom Charter.
Rafif Jouejati, Director of FREE-Syria, talks to Danny Postel, Associate Director of the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies, about the Freedom Charter: