Monday, April 6, 2020
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...

Oud and Singing 5 march 17

Image of Fadi Haddad taken by Ms Jacqueline Mitelman "For me, the oud is my soulmate. It's like a mirror reflecting my feelings." - by Fadi Fadi’s love for the oud In 2015, Fadi Haddad with his parents, sister and young niece came to Australia as refugees from Syria. They had lived in Hama, near Homs, a city that sits on a rich agricultural...
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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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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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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...
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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I was in Damascus for just over a week, and in a taxi with Athar and Rana on our way to the old city. First for a stroll in the Souq Al-Hamidiyah and then onto Beit Jabri for a juice and maybe lunch. It's September 2019. Life has its burdens for the locals, no doubt, but they can still smile....