Sunday, October 25, 2020
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My memories of Bab Tuma, a predominately Christian quarter in old Damascus, go back to my first Christmas in Syria. Like locals, I was rugged up for the winter cold. There were street lights and decorations, and a towering Christmas tree! Father Christmas’s were handing out sweets and one was stopped on a corner, playing the saxophone.  If you search on...
By Rasha Milhem One lonely night recently, during a particularly hard time of the coronavirus quarantine, a high school friend and I reviewed our lives and recalled the 2000s with some nostalgia.  We are millennials, born in the early 1980s, when Israel invaded and occupied parts of Lebanon and conflict between the state and the Muslim Brotherhood Movement threatened to destabilise...
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In Damascus last September on a journalist's visa, I had the opportunity to interview some truly impressive women in different fields of work. This impromtu chat in a school yard was the most spontaneous and delightful of interviews. The students were thrilled to meet a 'real' journalist and, as it happened, I was thrilled to show off the little bit...
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This video message to Australian members of parliament (MPs) was recorded in Madam Janset Kazan's office, Damascus, 21 September 2019. Captions were added by Sarah Nachar, and Rana Alkhayrat and Rasha Milhem translated the interview with Madam Janset. In this country, we believe in all religions, so we took the concept of forgiveness and reconciliation from all the religions that...
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  Beit Jabri is one of many remarkable family homes in the lanes of old Damascus that have opened their doors to the public: they may have become boutique hotels or more humble abodes for international students or backpackers. Others, like Beit Jabri, have become cafe-restaurants that offer the delights of the Damascene cuisine. Sitting at one of the tables in...
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Shaheedi Ajeeb's only ambition in life was to become a journalist despite the obstacles it meant she faced in what was a deeply patriarchal society.  Petite and softly spoken Ajeeb didn't just overcome difficulties to achieve her dream career. She put up her hand to be a war correspondent. But the young Ajeeb could never have imagined how dangerous and...
by Susan Dirgham, 25 April 2020 Krak des Chevaliers, 2008 Syrians and Australians  On a crisp winter’s morning in December 2008, a group of La Trobe University students began their tour of Syria with a visit to the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Damascus, where 307 Australian defence personnel from both world wars are buried.   Kurt, an Australian Army officer, who at that time led...
Article by Rasha Milhem 22 April 2020 Above image: Church in Daraa, empty of its congregation for the Orthodox Easter Sunday service because of COVID-19 restrictions. (Ref: SANA, Christian denominations in Syria that follow Eastern calendar celebrate Easter) Only international solidarity and cooperation among States can slow down and eventually defeat the common enemy Professor Dr Alfred de Zayas Syria’s Minister of Health, Nizar...
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Posted by S. Dirgham, who accepts all responsibility for the technical glitches with the subtitles. Translation of video interview by Rasha Milhem and Sarah Nachar. This page is being posted on 17 April 2020 to celebrate Syria's 'Evacuation Day'. It is an especially significant day because April 2020 marks 100 years since the San Remo conference, a meeting of the prime...
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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'...