“Difficult to Engage Politically, but Harder to not Engage at all”- Syrian political activism in the Netherlands
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This thesis examines how Syrian political activists try to create and perceive their political space in the Netherlands. It aims to contribute to the understanding of Syrian political activism in the Netherlands in relation to diaspora politics and political opportunities. It will focus particularly on the limitations faced by the Syrian diaspora in the context of wrongly perceived opportunities. Due to the conflict in Syria since 2011, there has been a vast influx of Syrian refugees into Europe and the Netherlands, resulting in the formation of a new diaspora. This Syrian diaspora is relatively new to the field of political research. This paper will, therefore, look at the political life of the Syrian diaspora in the Netherlands. It will continue to highlight the wrongly perceived political opportunities by the Syrian diaspora and analyse their political activism in the context of limited opportunities. It will look at the expectations and personal motivations, frustrations and strategies of Syrian political activists in the Netherlands. Consequently, this paper will argue that the Syrian political activism is very limited in the Netherlands and, in its current efforts, ineffective to actively influence the conflict in Syria. This paper discusses a rather weak diaspora in its efforts and ambitions to become politically active and taken seriously by the media and Dutch society.