Essays and Features

Letter from Syria -- From the Back Window, Raghad

By 
NAJAT ABDUL SAMAD

Raghad was thin and her appearance was as spare as the room that had become a new home to her and to her mother, her six brothers, and her uncle’s family. 

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Raghad was thin and her appearance was as spare as the room that had become a new home to her and to her mother, her six brothers, and her uncle’s family. 

Her thinness resembled the stem of basil she carried with her to the refugee camp. Her mother had yelled, “We have no place for the basil.  Leave it!”  But Raghad didn’t listen.  “If I leave it here it will die, ma!”   She carried it in one hand and a bag full of possessions in the other… no toys.

Syrian Stories from 'The World of Ghosts'

Ahmad's Story
By 
Elie Chalala

Over the years, we have devoted generous space to covering dissent by Arab intellectuals, especially the Syrians. We believed that most of them who were arrested and imprisoned for long periods of time (poet Farag Bayrakdar, 14 years; Riadh al-Turk, 17 years; Yassin al-Haj Saleh, 16 years) had been seen as members of different leftist and communist parties, thus posing threats to a repressive regime. But after reading Michel Kilo's stories from his time in Al Maza Military Prison (the article to follow is based on one of Kilo's stories), it is clear that even ordinary Syrians, who hardly harbor any hostile feelings toward the regime have spent similar periods of imprisonment.

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Over the years, we have devoted generous space to covering dissent by Arab intellectuals, especially the Syrians. We believed that most of them who were arrested and imprisoned for long periods of time (poet Farag Bayrakdar, 14 years; Riadh al-Turk, 17 years; Yassin al-Haj Saleh, 16 years) had been seen as members of different leftist and communist parties, thus posing threats to a repressive regime.

The Children's Revolution:

Youth and the Syrian Rebellion
By 
Farag Bayrakdar
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It's okay to cry a little for Syria and her people.And it's also okay to believe freedom is near.

The tsunami of Tunisian revolution toppled Arab dictatorships. Although Husni Mubarak believed Egypt would be immune to the fate of Ben Ali’s Tunisia, he soon was overthrown. Gaddhafi, Africa’s self-proclaimed “King of Kings,” said Libya would be different, as well. 

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It's okay to cry a little for Syria and her people.And it's also okay to believe freedom is near.

The tsunami of Tunisian revolution toppled Arab dictatorships. Although Husni Mubarak believed Egypt would be immune to the fate of Ben Ali’s Tunisia, he soon was overthrown. Gaddhafi, Africa’s self-proclaimed “King of Kings,” said Libya would be different, as well. There was no difference except that he became a war criminal, who didn't hesitate to blindly bomb Libyan cities with Grad rockets. In the end, he was captured in a drain. So closed the history of the crazed despot.   

Prison: Geography of Despotism

By 
Hala Muhammad

Prison:  A Geography of Despotism without a Place in the Nation

A picture of a wood stove warms hearts.

The gas stove in the picture has an odor.

The prisoner never drew a stove on the prison walls or on the screeching iron gates. 

The geography of the prison is coldness and solitude.

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Prison: A Geography of Despotism without a Place in the Nation

"Your Silence is Killing Us"

By 
Elie Chalala

“Your Silence is Killing Us” was the slogan put forth by the peaceful Syrian opposition on one of its many Fridays. It has become a sort of tradition to give a different name to each Friday the protestors demonstrate against the Assad regime. This title was also used in an article by Ahmad Ali al-Zein, published in Al Hayat newspaper on August 10, 2011.

Ghayath Mattar: ‘Rain Flower’ of Syria

By 
Elie Chalala

Everything I read about Ghayath Mattar confers an image of a young man who was a model activist in the ongoing Syrian Revolution. Ghayath was a pacifist and advocate of non-violence, states the Madrid-based Syrian exiled author Nawal al-Sibai, according to the website Aklam Hurra (Free Pens). She points out that Mattar’s legacy is what can be called a political will: “Even if they kill us all we should not resort to weapons to defend ourselves.”

Everything I read about Ghayath Mattar confers an image of a young man who was a model activist in the ongoing Syrian Revolution. Ghayath was a pacifist and advocate of non-violence, states the Madrid-based Syrian exiled author Nawal al-Sibai, according to the website Aklam Hurra (Free Pens).

Syria: 'Life from Hell' -- Blood Images of a Revolution

By 
By Abdu Wazen

The images of murdered men, women, and children broadcast in snippets by Arab and world satellite stations from the battlefields of the Syrian revolution have become almost like a live “exhibition,” with images rolling in day after day uninterrupted... It is as if the charred and dismembered remains of human bodies are all identical, regardless of the region or neighborhood.

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The images of murdered men, women, and children broadcast in snippets by Arab and world satellite stations from the battlefields of the Syrian revolution have become almost like a live “exhibition,” with images rolling in day after day uninterrupted... It is as if the charred and dismembered remains of human bodies are all identical, regardless of the region or neighborhood. The corpses, particularly those of women and children, cannot be “re-made,” “rectified,” “adjusted,” or edited. They are bodies of children killed in Aleppo, Homs, Al Rastan...the place is not important.

Christian Dissent in Syria Loses a Leader: Assad Deports the Noblest Priest -- Father Paolo Dall'Oglio

By 
Elie Chalala

Two interviews with Father Paolo Dall' Oglio on Al Arabiya and MTV television led me to recall an exchange I had on a Southern California  Listserv almost a year ago.  

Two interviews with Father Paolo Dall' Oglio on Al Arabiya and MTV television led me to recall an exchange I had on a Southern California  Listserv almost a year ago.  The exchange was spurred by a celebratory post about the Syrian Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Assistant, Bishop Luca al-Khoury, who expelled the American Ambassador Robert Ford and his French counterpart, Eric Chevallier, from the church. I asked at the time: is this Christian behavior? Do Christians not claim that God's house is open to all?

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