(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)
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.