Monday, May 25, 2020
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This interview with Mahdi Al Mahdi took place on 24 September 2019, my last evening in Damascus before I flew out of Syria on my return trip to Australia.  I just chanced upon the ‘White and Black Quartet’ when I sat outside my hotel to chat with friends. It was a ‘magic moment’ for me.   https://youtu.be/oYcsQFdU9-g Here, 'White and Black Quartet'...
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  'Beloved Syria - Considering Syrian Perspectives', First Edition, Spring 2016, page 25 The Challenge - Responding to this 21st Century War This magazine aims to present the perspectives of Syrians who have experience of war in their country and who wish Syria to remain united and secular. Few deny that there is a proxy war being fought in Syria. Pope Francis has...
Written by Chris Ray and first published in Atlas Obscura, Dec 10, 2019 BY CHRIS RAY DECEMBER 10, 2019 On a bright spring day in April 2013, the minaret of one of the world’s most famous mosques came crashing to earth in the Syrian city of Aleppo. The sound was heard across the Old Quarter, even over the din of artillery...
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Rasha Milhem In September 2019, on behalf of ‘Beloved Syria’, I interviewed Ms Rasha Milhem, a Syrian translator, news writer, and filmmaker. Rasha has worked for SANA (Syrian Arab News Agency), the Syrian equivalent of the ABC, since 2009. I found her to be eloquent, deep-thinking and passionate.   Having studied English Literature, Rasha is keenly interested in the arts and...
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Foul, or ful, is traditionally eaten for breakfast (or sometimes supper*) in Syria. The main ingredient is broad (fava) beans. Delicious and healthy, there are quite a few variations of foul, and they include vegan or dairy, depending on whether you choose to add yoghurt or not. The two variations of foul dishes seen in this video were prepared by a Syrian...
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This video interview with Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim took place in a Damascus cafe on 22 September 2019. It wasn't the best environment to discuss a serious subject, and I had no external microphone for my mobile phone, but we made do. Susan Dirgham (For a transcript of the interview, please go to the bottom of this page.*)    During the worst years of...
One must work long and hard to arrive at the truthful. What I want and set as my goal is damned difficult, and yet I don’t believe I’m aiming too high. I want to make drawings that move some people … Whether in figures or in landscapes, I would like to express not something sentimentally melancholic but deep sorrow....
 - By Greta Medawar and Carissa Gilham In May 2017, Shaam Group presented the inaugural Shaam Syrian Film Festival in Melbourne and Sydney with the objective of providing a platform for Syrian cinema to be screened in Australia. Sponsors of the festival included Melbourne travel agency, CedarJet Travel, and popular Sydney based Knafeh Bakery that specialises in Jerusalem street food....
by Leslie Hemphill “You are welcome”, or “You are family” were words we heard so often in Syria when we travelled with daughter-in-law Ghada on three visits to stay with her parents and family in Damascus. Ghada was one of six children raised in a little house - really a two-storey apartment.  It was possible to climb out a window onto...

My Country

My Country - by Nizar Qabbani, - translated by Norma Medawar From the lisp of the blackbird… From the saddening huskiness of the flute… From the flickering sounds of the folk songs From the sighs of the minaret… From a cloud at sunset woven by a chimney and by the wound of the bricks of the decorated and widespread villages… From the whispers of a star settled in our east From a story between a rose and a...