Sunday, March 29, 2020
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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...
  Not so long ago, while driving my elderly mother to an appointment, I recorded traffic noises, snatches of our conversation, and, through the cacophony of traffic sounds, came the pure voice of Fairuz, the Lebanese diva cherished by people across Syria. Susan Dirgham   Our Need for Music Below is a quote from the 1964 book Music Education in the Primary School, published in Melbourne, Australia....
On a visit to Damascus in 2009, on the recommendation of two women I met in a CD shop, I purchased 'Musique Des Derviches Tourneurs de Damas' Al-Kindi, who was born in Basra and lived in the ninth century, was known as 'The Philosopher of the Islamic empire'. L'ensemble Al-Kindi "Established in 1983 by Julien Bernard Jallal Edin Weiss in homage to...
Days full of music and joy I came to Australia with my family in March 2015, so I have been here for two years. We are sorry that we had to come here as refugees, but we feel very lucky to be able to come here.  We are really grateful to the people of Australia for accepting us and...
Over lunch, I interviewed Hana about Fairuz, the Lebanese singer that Syrians across the country listen to in the mornings. Hana's daughter Karla helped translate.
  Tears for the Souq of Damascus On the road to Damascus I dreamed of the Souk The delicious biscuit, barazeh The over powering smell of maazoot   Souk El Hamadeyeh’s narrow lanes Shoulder rubbing lanes of fabric Copperware, clothing, underwear The silversmiths, surely do reign   Traditional foods and modern cuisine Great fashion and jewellery Syria, home of pure cotton High-rise buildings add to the scene   Mar Yohanna’s historical church Now a mausoleum The ancient...
Interview with Lubna, recorded by Susan Dirgham in 2010 Extract: In regard to women’s issues and the equality of the sexes, what are some of the differences of opinion in Syria? You have a whole range of opinions. For example, men are demanding their rights, like to be equal to the women! They are saying, like, women have more rights than...