Saturday, July 2, 2022
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My memories of Bab Tuma, a predominately Christian quarter in old Damascus, go back to my first Christmas in Syria. Like locals, I was rugged up for the winter cold. There were street lights and decorations, and a towering Christmas tree! Father Christmas’s were handing out sweets and one was stopped on a corner, playing the saxophone.  If you search on...
Not to be Ignored Below is a transcript of an interview conducted at the end of 2010, when there was no thought of conflict in Syria, and the issues of the day for educated young women related to their ‘liberation’. The questions chosen were a response to the times since Ms Ayaan Hirsi Ali had recently visited Australia, where she...
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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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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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Posted by S. Dirgham, who accepts all responsibility for the technical glitches with the subtitles. Translation of video interview by Rasha Milhem and Sarah Nachar. This page is being posted on 17 April 2020 to celebrate Syria's 'Evacuation Day'. It is an especially significant day because April 2020 marks 100 years since the San Remo conference, a meeting of the prime...
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...
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Rasha Milhem In September 2019, on behalf of ‘Beloved Syria’, I interviewed Ms Rasha Milhem, a Syrian translator, news writer, and filmmaker. Rasha has worked for SANA (Syrian Arab News Agency), the Syrian equivalent of the ABC, since 2009. I found her to be eloquent, deep-thinking and passionate.   Having studied English Literature, Rasha is keenly interested in the arts and...
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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....
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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...
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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...