Highlights from series 8
Sunday, September 09 2012
As the revolutions gained momentum in the Arab world, the eighth season of The Doha Debates launched at the heart of it all - in Cairo. The debate focused on a controversial issue at the time – was the military really interested in genuine reform and would it retire from politics and return to the barracks after elections?
The situation in Syria was next on the agenda. November’s debate discussed President Bashar al-Assad’s future, generating impassioned responses from the audience who wanted to know when the leader would step down. A resounding 91 percent of the audience voted in favour of the motion that it was time for Assad to go.
A debate on Bahrain followed, with speakers and audience members arguing passionately on whether the country’s rulers could be trusted to implement reforms in the wake of violence in the Kingdom.
In January, the team travelled to Istanbul to hold a debate at Bogazici University on Turkey’s growing political role in the Middle East.
Returning to their home base of Qatar in February, the Debates first all-female panel discussed women’s rights after the Arab Spring. A lively debate on marrying first cousins followed, which included an emotional, eye-opening exchange from the panel which focused on the medical and social issues related to marriage between close family members.
After Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti called for the destruction of churches in the region – April’s debate had religious leaders discussing the future of religious minorities in the Middle East.
And the curtains closed on season eight with a discussion on censorship in art. The debate, inspired by the Gulf’s growing art scene, challenged the audience’s perceptions on what should or should not be censored.
Watch the highlights to get a taste or the full debates to see more.