Thursday, July 9, 2020
From 'Beloved Syria', Second Edition, 2017 In 2009, Bruce Petty – a political satirist, cartoonist and filmmaker - included Damascus on his list of cities to visit for a documentary film project, a follow-up to his 2007 film Global Haywire, for which Bruce won the AFI Best Documentary Director prize. I had met Bruce at the Melbourne Writers Festival the...
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An RT Documentary, this video was first posted in February 2019, when people living in most Syrian cities and towns could breathe a lot easier, and had cause to look forward to peace. 'Syrian Tango' features a sculptor, Tango dancers, a documentary film maker, and a composer/musician. In giving a voice to these artists, the documentary presents Syrian people at...
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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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In this second part of the interview with Damascus University professor Maamoun Abdulkarim, Professor Maamoun speaks about Syria's 'mosaic', exemplified by his own family. The interview was conducted in a Damascus cafe on 22 September 2019. When he was director general of antiquities and museums during the worst years of the war in Syria, Professor Maamoun believes his innate understanding...
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Dar Al Salam School, a private school in central Damascus, has a co-educational primary school section and a girls high school. Its principal and the majority of its staff are women. I heard from a friend whose niece attended the school that it has a very good reputation. I visited the school on 23 September 2019 to meet Nisreen, or 'Teacher...
"To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man"  -Aristotle* Ahlan wa sahlan A warm welcome** This post is dedicated to Syrian writer Ms Muna Imady (1962 - 2016) and the country and people she loved.   In an interview for ‘Beloved Syria’ (September 2019), Muna’s mother, Elaine, spoke about 'Kan Ya Ma Kan: Folktales and Recipes...
In September 2019, I dropped in on an old friend, Elaine Imady, author of 'Road to Damascus'. Elaine is an American Syrian who first went to live in Damascus around six decades ago with her Syrian husband, Mohammed, whom she'd met at New York University. Theirs was a true love story. In 2010,  Elaine wrote for 'Syria Comment'  Since last Sunday, March...
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SUMMARY OF INTERVIEW: In what ways do sanctions impact on women and their families?  Dr Bouthaina explains that the sanctions against Syria are unilateral measures taken by the United States without UN approval or Security Council resolutions. “They were measures which were forced by the United States on Syria and forced on other countries to abide by….against any international law, any...
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In 1992, The Washington Post published a favourable review of Dr Bouthaina Shaaban’s book, ‘Both Right and Left Handed; Arab Women Talk About Their Lives’ (first published in 1988). Dr Bouthaina was born in the 1950s and grew up in a village in countryside Homs. When the Washington Post review was published, she had a PhD in English Literature from...
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October 2019 In Syrian cities and towns, it is normal for primary school students to attend a co-educational school and then for students to be streamed into single-sex secondary schools. (This isn't possible in many small regional schools, so high school students in the countryside often attend mixed classes.) Universities generally have mixed classes. Last month, on my visit to Dar...