Amin Maalouf, perhaps the most famous and popular member of the French Academy, is a best-selling author and known as an intellectual whose works “honored” the French language. Maalouf’s contributions are considered an answer to the call of the Academy, whose exclusive and main concern is safeguarding the French language and preserving French culture.
Essays and Features
Youssef Abdelki, the Syrian painter, has completed his journey. He has returned to his homeland, Syria, and to his city, Damascus, after a quarter century in Parisian exile. Without compromise or flattery and without state security agencies obstructing his arrival.
It was an emotional scene in which about 100 friends gathered at the Damascus airport to welcome Youssef, his wife, filmmaker Hala Abdallah, and their daughter Layla.
Why would a child be slaughtered? What threats does he pose to the Assad regime or any tyrannical regime? Yassin al-Haj Saleh tackles these difficult questions in his article, "Image of the Slain Child in Banias," published in Al Modon, the electronic Lebanese newspaper on May 21, 2013.
The horrific image of a slaughtered child becomes transfixed in many a viewer’s mind; it is a picture powerful enough to be eternally memorized.
After watching and reading coverage of Assad’s Shabiha massacre of more than 360 people in Banias, Ras al-Nabeh, and the village of Bayda, and after comments by some people who apparently enjoyed hearing the news, I felt all the more saddened. As the killers paraded and humiliated their victims before pro-Assad sympathetic crowds, their euphoric reaction displays the alarming rise in the sectarian hatred in Syrian society.
The talk of the town—or rather the country—in Lebanon has fixated on the great influx of Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Sadly, such talk is not about their physical, social and psychological suffering, but largely about their very presence in Lebanon and what it means to a delicate demographic and sectarian balance.
Those bemoaning the death of the Arab Spring must read what Hashem Saleh has to say. Unlike the apologists for Arab dictatorships who are reading the Arab revolts from ideological and political perspectives, Saleh is analyzing the Arab Spring from a philosophical perspective, according to Karam al-Helou. Those nostalgic for the reigns of oppressive systems like the one still destroying Syria like to spend their free time coming up with terms like “fall” and “winter” to substitute “Spring.”
Some of the criticisms directed at major Arab media networks that support Syrian revolution are unwarranted. Critics argue that the stories of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are often politically motivated, influenced by the networks’ owners. It is no secret that they are alluding to Al Jazeera's Qatar and Al Arabiya’s Saudi Arabia. Since the onset of the Arab Spring, I have not stopped watching satellite TV networks like Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and BBC.
An essay, titled "No Shame in Apologizing," written by Lebanese columnist Hussam Itani, caught my attention a few months ago. I was reminded of it last Sunday, when I read another lengthy essay in the Sunday New York Times by Iraqi-American scholar and intellectual Kanan Makiya. In this essay, Makiya does something different from many Arab intellectuals and politicians when he apologizes or admits miscalculations and errors of judgment he made regarding American invasion of Iraq in 2003.
It is hard to imagine what happened to Fatima,* and it is hard to describe the silence that engulfed the witnesses of her death. I think the artistic works on Facebook that restored her head and depicted a rose garden or the moon or the sun have tried to compensate for that terrible silence and ease the pain of Fatima and her loved ones and all of us together.
What can be done to a Syrian child who “lost” her head?! And what can be said to a girl sprawled in her dress on the ground, arms spread wide, her small, drooping shoulders clinging to the wall directly?
On Sunday, February 24, 2013 Yassin Bakoush, one of Syria’s most talented and adored comedians, was killed as he drove through a rebel-held check-point in the Assali neighborhood. He was on his way home to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus, an area that has witnessed unyielding combat between the regime and rebels. Not surprisingly, the regime blamed “terrorists” for his death, relying on a rhetoric that has become ever more stale, transparent, and tragic.