Monday, April 6, 2020
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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...
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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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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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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...
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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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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...
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...
"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...
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In September 2019 on a visit to Damascus, I interviewed Athar, a Syrian woman who has been in her church scout group since she was 15 years old. We chatted in Beit Jabri, a popular restaurant in old Damascus. Athar explained that her scout group meets once a week for band practice and for activities for the children. Also, at their...