Saturday, December 7, 2019
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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 video interview with Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim took place in a Damascus cafe on 22 September 2019. It wasn't the best environment to discuss a serious subject, and I had no external microphone for my mobile phone, but we made do. Susan Dirgham (For a transcript of the interview, please go to the bottom of this page.*)    During the worst years of...
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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 July 2019, I visited an exhibition titled The Sea by acclaimed Aussie artist Luke Cornish at the Bondi Pavillion Gallery, Sydney. Luke had kindly contributed to the second issue of Beloved Syria, so I was really pleased to catch up with him and see more of his work from Syria receiving very respectful attention in Bondi! With Luke's permission, I took...
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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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This account of a young German tourist's recent visit to Damascus can be found on this Youtube site. A comment on the YouTube page captures the impressions one gets from the tourist's short stay in Damascus: This was beautiful. So much history here. The architecture is still amazing after all these years. Thank you for sharing.    

Palm Sunday – Interviews

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Martin Luther King's Anti-War Stand Sunday 25 March 2018 - Interviewer: Susan Dirgham - Camera: Sean Hwang 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination. I interviewed people at the Palm Sunday March in Melbourne to bring attention to Martin Luther King's anti-war message and to consider its relevance today. Those interviewed included an Australian Defence Force chaplain and Rev Andreas Lowe, the...
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https://youtu.be/BKj-X5PuFdU Interview with 16-year-old twins, Sarah and Maya Sarah and Maya Ghassali are 16-year-old twins who migrated from Syria during the civil war in 2012 Melbourne, Australia. They are passionate about helping refugees and in doing so have started their own podcast 'Refugees on air' where they interview refugees about their inspiring stories. Everyday they aim to make positive changes in...
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From YouTube, Centre Culturel Syrien The title has a double meaning: the word "salam" in Arabic means peace and is also a form of greeting. In the context of the video, it is a greeting and a message of peace and hope, carried by Syrian artists to the rest of the world. The idea for the video was born from a...