Cultural Briefings

Desecrate the cities...and desecrate civilization

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: ...


"The Earthquake of Houla"-- Reading Adonis

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 ...


Silencing the Singer

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.


Syria: Open Sesame

Michael Teague

A spate of recent articles in The New York Times popularized the notion that Syria is “opening up” and that an effort is being made to somehow “liberalize” society.

Considering the long and brutal track record of the Assad regimes, especially the Machiavellian tactics to which both father and son have resorted in order to retain power, there is ample reason to question the sincerity of such reports. It behooves us to take a closer look at the premises of these articles, and ask whether they offer solid evidence that this new “opening up” is genuine, and to what extent, if at all, it is taking place.


Subscribe to RSS - Cultural Briefings