Sunday, November 28, 2021
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In Damascus last September on a journalist's visa, I had the opportunity to interview some truly impressive women in different fields of work. This impromtu chat in a school yard was the most spontaneous and delightful of interviews. The students were thrilled to meet a 'real' journalist and, as it happened, I was thrilled to show off the little bit...
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 'Syrian School' (Part 3)  'Being Inspired' Syrian School Episode 3 of 5 Five-part series following a year in the life of four schools in Damascus, a high pressure crossroads in the Middle East. It concentrates on some remarkable characters finding their way in a country that has never before opened ordinary life up to the cameras in this way, challenges the usual cliches of...

Sanctioning Syria

Written by Chris Ray, this article was first published by Monthly Review Online, 10 January 2020 Sanctioning Syria By Chris Ray The United Nations was willing to pay for doors, windows and electrical wiring in Alaa Dahood’s apartment but not for repairs to her living room wall torn open by a mortar strike. That was deemed to be ‘reconstruction’—an aid category forbidden...
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Part 2: Tima Kurdi, author of ‘The Boy On The Beach’ (Simon & Schuster, 2018), speaks to Sarah Nachar and Susan Dirgham about: Women in Syria  COVID-19 and Sanctions on Syria  Syria - Our Good-Hearted Mother  Women In Syria Today Tima describes the dramatic changes that have taken place since she grew up in Syria, when women mainly stayed at home...
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Faia and Rihan Younan were born in the village of Al-Malikiyah, Syria, and grew up in the city of Aleppo. They moved to Sweden with their parents when Faia was 11 years old. Faia studied at Glasgow University and she moved to Beirut when she decided to become a professional singer.  'To Our Countries' has had nearly 7 million views. In August 2015,...
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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 video message to Australian members of parliament (MPs) was recorded in Madam Janset Kazan's office, Damascus, 21 September 2019. Captions were added by Sarah Nachar, and Rana Alkhayrat and Rasha Milhem translated the interview with Madam Janset. In this country, we believe in all religions, so we took the concept of forgiveness and reconciliation from all the religions that...
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 Tima Kurdi, author of ‘The Boy On The Beach’ (Simon & Schuster, 2018), was born and raised in Damascus.    In 1992, she immigrated to Canada but maintained close links with her family in Syria. There were joyful reunions back in Damascus, but in September 2015, a personal tragedy struck the Kurdi family. Tima’s younger brother Abdullah, his wife Rehanna, and their...
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Shaheedi Ajeeb's only ambition in life was to become a journalist despite the obstacles it meant she faced in what was a deeply patriarchal society.  Petite and softly spoken Ajeeb didn't just overcome difficulties to achieve her dream career. She put up her hand to be a war correspondent. But the young Ajeeb could never have imagined how dangerous and...
14 October 2019 Last month, I was in Damascus for just 8 full days. I had a journalist's visa which ensured I had the chance to interview some distinguished Syrians as well as some 'ordinary' Syrians, all of them impressive people, and most of them women.   Most evident was the fact that the war has led to women in Syria finding...