Cultural Briefings

Aleppo: A Tale of Three Cities

By 
Yassin al-Haj Saleh

(Yassin al-Hajj Saleh is considered one of the most important observers of Syrian politics. He spent 16 years in Syrian prison, an experience about which he recently wrote a book. One Syrian scholar rejected the description of Yassin al-Haj Saleh as a political observer or analyst and instead he considers him the ultimate historian of the Syrian Revolution. Recently he wrote a short essay on Aleppo, a city with which he had an intimate history. 

(Yassin al-Hajj Saleh is considered one of the most important observers of Syrian politics. He spent 16 years in Syrian prison, an experience about which he recently wrote a book. One Syrian scholar rejected the description of Yassin al-Haj Saleh as a political observer or analyst and instead he considers him the ultimate historian of the Syrian Revolution. Recently he wrote a short essay on Aleppo, a city with which he had an intimate history. With his permission, I translated his contribution  about Aleppo. The title "Aleppo: A Tale of Three Cities" is mine. --Elie Chalala)

A sense of humanity must mean a sense of 'surprise' at inhumanity

By 
Elie Chalala

An avid reader of Fawaz Traboulsi’s columns in As Safir, one of his latest really caught my eye.  The title Traboulsi gave to his column is “About Aleppo, Its Sisters and Its Surprise.” Troublsi's major concern is with the weakened or absent feeling of "surprise" among some of the Lebanese and Arabs who constitute the bulk of his readership. According to the author, two villains in particular exemplify ...

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An avid reader of Fawaz Traboulsi’s columns in As Safir, one of his latest really caught my eye.  The title Traboulsi gave to his column is “About Aleppo, Its Sisters and Its Surprise.”

Desecrate the cities...and desecrate civilization

By 
Mohammad Ali Atassi

The ruling clique in Syria has always evinced a strong and neurotic animosity toward the urban centers of the country, with special emphasis on the cities of bilad As-sham. Throughout the junta’s long reign and domination of the land, it exhibited hostility toward the city while at the same time rebelling against the essence of the city itself.  A truly modern concept of the city requires certain indispensable components: ...

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The ruling clique in Syria has always evinced a strong and neurotic animosity toward the urban centers of the country, with special emphasis on the cities of bilad As-sham.

"The Earthquake of Houla"-- Reading Adonis

By 
Elie Chalala

Adonis’ controversial writings on the Syrian revolution have ensured that his critics consistently mention that many people hate him. Yet, even so, there remains a big difference between his critics and his “haters.” A large number of Arab and Syrian intellectuals, artists and scholars have denounced the threats of physical harm to Adonis featured on some new media venues ...

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Adonis’ controversial writings on the Syrian revolution have ensured that his critics consistently mention that many people hate him. Yet, even so, there remains a big difference between his critics and his “haters.” A large number of Arab and Syrian intellectuals, artists and scholars have denounced the threats of physical harm to Adonis featured on some new media venues, and I would like to add my voice to theirs. But this does not and should not prevent us from taking issue with some of what Adonis has said.

Let Salameh Kaileh Go Free!

By 
Al Jadid Staff

I read an article about the opposition writer Salameh Kaileh, which shed some light on why this harmless man who suffers serious health problems was arrested. I say this because the title of the article was "About Salameh Kaileh and Syria." But if Amar Diyoub, the Syrian author of the article, published in Al Akhbar (May 5, 2012), could not offer any reliable account of the arrest, many others asked the same questions about the torture and killing of 14-year old Hamza al-Khatib! In any event, I liked the conclusion of Mr.

No Literary Awards or Medals from Tyrant!

By 
Elie Chalala
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On May 6, Mouin al-Bayari, a frequent contributor to Al Hayat newspaper, published a column "Zakaria Tamer...the Award and the Criticism." Zakaria Tamer is a prominent Syrian literary figure, widely read and translated. Alongside his work as a journalist and editor, he has written stories and is known for his satirical style. Given his humble background, Zakaria’s work is often preoccupied with social and economic themes.

Silencing the Singer

By 
Elie Chalala

A day after he had sang in protest in the square of his hometown, Ibrahim Kashoush was found dead, floating in the Orontes River (Al Asi). The fate of Ibrahim Kashoush expresses in the simplest terms the anger that has been driving Syrians in almost every corner of the country onto the streets and in front of the bullets of the security forces.

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A day after he had sang in protest in the square of his hometown, Ibrahim Kashoush was found dead, floating in the Orontes (Al Asi) River.

Celebrated Iraqi Archeologist Dies at 71

Farewell
By 
Al Jadid Staff

Selma al-Radi, the Iraqi archaeologist best known for her role in restoring

Selma al-Radi, the Iraqi archaeologist best known for her role in restoring the Amiriya Madrassa in the city of Rada in Southern Yemen, has passed away. Though she worked on sites all over the Middle East-- in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait, Turkey and Egypt, it was while assisting with the creation of the National Museum of Yemen in the late 70’s that she discovered the 15th century Amiriya Madrassa in a state of total decay. With the financial backing of the Yemeni and Dutch governments she oversaw a painstaking two-decade effort to restore the Madrassa to its former glory.

From the Victimizer’s View: “Lebanon”

About Films
By 
Michael Teague

 I recently saw the film “Lebanon” when it was playing at the West Los Angeles Nuart.

I recently saw the film “Lebanon” when it was playing at the West Los Angeles Nuart. To my dismay, it turned out to be the latest example of how hyperbolic stylization and personal narrative are being more commonly used in American and Israeli films in order to shift the focus away from the terrible consequences of waging wars.

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