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Culture XII

All Spring, Jadaliyya presented you with weekly offerings on poetry, fiction, music and art from the Arab world, a bouquet we called "Culture" because we didn't know a better word for the flowers we were finding. Summer is here and the flowers keep on blooming. Another week, and three more pieces to enjoy -- ...  Read More »

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On Cultural Production and the Syrian Revolution: Part 3 of an Interview with Rosa Yaseen Hassan

In late June, a Jadaliyya affiliate sat with Syrian novelist Rosa Yaseen Hassan to talk about the Syrian revolution. The interview was conducted in Arabic and transcribed/translated into English. This post represents Part 3 of the interview, in which Hassan discusses culture and culture production in Syria during the ...  Read More »

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Waiting for a Volcano? Don't Hold Your Breath

[This is the third installment of Amal Hanano's account of her trip back to Aleppo. You can read the first two here and here] In the universe of Revolution 2.0, Facebook is the reigning capital, and The Syrian Revolution 2011 page (with over 218,000 “official” followers) is considered prime real estate. Earlier this ...  Read More »

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Ma Fi Shi: The City of Nothingness

[This is the second installment of Amal Hanano's diary of her trip back to Aleppo. You can read the first installment here] While “The people want to topple the regime” has become the anthem of the Arab Spring, “There is nothing” is the unofficial chant of the people of Aleppo. “Ma fi shi” is the must-use, “it” ...  Read More »

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What Is [the] Left?

Lebanon has been without a government for months. Finally, a thirty-member cabinet was formed two weeks ago. With a revolutionary uprising in Syria and the brutal response by the Syrian regime intensifying, there is now a Lebanese government whose sole function, it seems, is to weather the storm at the country's ...  Read More »

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Mind the Gap

[This is the first installment of Amal Hanano's diary of her trip back to Syria] I begin to lose sleep weeks before I leave – waking in the middle of the night, my mind racing with anxiety. My insomnia may be the obvious sign that I have no business going to Syria while the country, as my close friend likes to remind ...  Read More »

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Culture XI

Only Jadaliyya can put together an Egyptian novelist, an Iraqi musician and a tyrant in the same space. Our eleventh installment features two interviews and a famous poem from the late 1980's being read again nowadays in Syria and other Arab countries. We also have a series of images from Yemen: On Writing and ...  Read More »

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Nizar Qabbani's "The Journal of An Arab Executioner"

The Journal Of An Arab Executioner Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998) 1 O people I have become a sultan over you Break your idols after straying, and worship me… I don’t always reveal myself… So sit down on the patience pavement to see me Leave your children with no bread And leave your women with no ...  Read More »

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We Want to Fill Cells; The Strong Heroes of Moscow Rap Against the Syrian Regime

[This clip was posted today on the "Fann al-Thawra al-Suriyya" (The Art of the Syrian Revolution) page on Facebook. The name chosen by its producer/s, "The Strong Heroes of Moscow," as well as the lyrics, parody the Syrian regime's propaganda and the discourse of its backers. We are reposting a ...  Read More »

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Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on Rami Makhlouf in the New York Times

[From the New York Times. Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad was interviewed by the New York Times for their first story on the move to charity work by the Syrian Tycoon, Rami Makhlouf]   Reviled Tycoon, Assad’s Cousin, Resigns in Syria By ANTHONY SHADID BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syria’s most powerful businessman, a ...  Read More »

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That Was Hama in 1982. This Is Syria in 2011

[The below post was sent to us by an author that has asked to remain anonymous and only identified as Hamwia due to safety considerations regarding relatives in Hama and other parts of Syria.] A young man, studying medicine, was alone in his apartment. When the soldiers barged into his house he proclaimed his ...  Read More »

Gays, islamistas y la primavera arabe; Que haria un revolucionario?

[This article was written in English by Maya Mikdashi and R.M. and translated/published in Spanish by] Gays, islamistas y la primavera árabe ¿Qué haría un revolucionario? [Traducción para Rebelión de Loles Oliván] El pasado mes de mayo el blog Una lesbiana en ...  Read More »

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BBC Interview with Bassam Haddad on the Question of "Sectarianism" in Syria

This is an interview conducted by the BBC with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on the question of "sectarianism" in Syria. It was recorded a few weeks prior, but we have decided to publish it because of the magnitude that this topic has occupied in the past days.   Read More »

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Gays, Islamists, and The Arab Spring: What Would A Revolutionary Do?

This past May, the blogger behind the “Gay Girl in Damascus” site responded to an alarmist front-page article by CNN International on the future of LGBT rights in the wake of the Arab Spring. The crux of the blogger’s response centered on the ways in which gay rights rhetoric is being used to undermine the revolutions ...  Read More »

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The Lebanese Left Fails in Syria

[This article was written in Arabic by Khalil Issa and translated into English by Hanna Petro] When the left loses all the material elements of its steadfastness, as a result of its mistakes on the one hand and because of surrounding local pressures on the other, it is usually left with nothing but the ...  Read More »

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Nizar Qabbani's "Poetry Buses"

Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998) was a Syrian poet, essayist, diplomat, and publisher and one of the most popular poets in the Arab world in the last few decades of the 20th century. He was born and raised in Damascus in a middle-class merchant traditional family. At the age of 15, Qabbani’s sister committed suicide because ...  Read More »

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The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony and the Burial of the Martyrs: Syrian Dances in the Arab Spring

Some Fires Burn More than Others [August 10th, 2009] Bosra is on fire. Red lights shine through the night in the ancient Roman amphitheatre. The smoke pours onto the stage, where the famous pop singer, Ali al-Deek, and his orchestra have set the audience and the stage on metaphorical fire. Everyone is dancing: old ...  Read More »

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Culture VIII

This week's basket has everything you need to start the week: Greek mythology, French philosophy, the politics of poetry, and a dispatch from Palestine: Algeria's Impact on French Philosophy: Between Poststructuralist Theory and Colonial Practice by Muriam Haleh Davis The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony and the ...  Read More »

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The Largest Demonstration in Hama Ends with Blood, and Signals a Shift

In what has been dubbed as the "Friday of the Children of Freedom" protests yesterday, Hama witnessed the largest demonsration yet, and Syria the largest crackdown to-date, with more than 50 protesters reported killed and several hundred wounded by live ammunition in the key city of Hama alone. These ...  Read More »

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Syria and Hizballah

[This article is written by Khalid Saghieh and translated by Assaf Khoury*] Translator's Introduction  Up until a few months ago, Hizballah could legitimately claim pride of place in the Arab anti-imperialist camp. Hizballah was the only Arab force that repeatedly stymied the powerful Israeli military ...  Read More »

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"We've Never Seen Such Horror": Crimes Against Humanity by Syrian Security Forces

[Below is the latest from the Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Syria.] "We've Never Seen Such Horror": Crimes Against Humanity by Syrian Security Forces Summary Since the beginning of anti-government protests in March 2011, Syrian security forces have killed hundreds of protesters and arbitrarily arrested ...  Read More »

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Funeral of Tortured Syrian Child Hamza al-Khatib (Video)

Hamza Ali al-Khatib, a 13-year old boy, was attending a protest calling for the end of the siege of Der'a. He was one of the many individuals detained that day as part of a brutal crackdown on the protest. One month later, his body was released to his family with clear signs that he had been tortured. Videos of his ...  Read More »

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When An Act of War Is Not An Act Of War

Two weeks ago Israel attacked Lebanon. Troops opened fire on a large group of protestors at the border between these two states. The Israeli army used live ammunition, killing at least eleven civilians and wounding over 100 others, some critically. The Lebanese army also fired their weapons at, and over, the ...  Read More »

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Text of Obama Letter Ordering Further Sanctions on Syria

[On Wednesday May 18th, 2011, President Obama issued a letter addressed to both the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate in regards to a new set of US sanctions on Syria. The letter was originally made public by The White House Press Secretary and can be found here.] For Immediate Release May ...  Read More »

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في ذكرى رحيل سعد الله ونوس ... الفيل يحتضر

أنهى سعد الله ونوس مسرحية "الفيل يا ملك الزمان" بالنبوءة التالية‫: الجميع :هذه حكاية. ممثل 5: ونحن ممثلون. ممثل 3: مثلناها لكم لكي نتعلم معكم عبرتها. ممثل 7: هل عرفتم الآن لماذا توجد الفيلة؟ ممثلة 3: هل عرفتم الآن لماذا تتكاثر الفيلة؟. ممثل 5: لكن حياتنا ليست الا البداية. ممثل 4: عندما تتكاثر الفيلة ...  Read More »

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Culture V

This is our fifth weekly edition of Jadaliyya's Culture. Previous weeks can be found here, here, here and here. This week's offerings include:  The conclusion of Sinan Antoon's translation of "Mirrors of Absence" by Syrian dissident poet, Faraj Ahmad ...  Read More »

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Faraj Bayraqdar, Excerpts from "Mirrors of Absence" II

This is the second part of selected excerpts from Faraj Bayraqdar's "Mirrors of Absence," written in Saydnaya Prison, Syria, between 1997-2000. The first part was published last week.   Mirrors of Absence  40   It is neither bias nor bragging there is no graveyard in this world or the ...  Read More »

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Nagm to Nasrallah

Many supporters of Hizbullah's resistance are at a loss when it comes to its position on the Syrian regime and the uprisings. The following video is from a Tunisian satellite channel whose show "WIthout Flattery" hosted a discussion with various Arab poets on the state of the Arab world. In it, popular ...  Read More »

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Syrian Embassy's Response to NYT Interview with Rami Makhlouf

[The following statement was issued by the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Washington D.C. in response to a recent New York Times article that extensively quoted Syria's leading businessman and cousin of President Bashar al-Asad, Rami Makhlouf, on developments in Syria. The original article can be found ...  Read More »

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Culture IV

This is our fourth weekly edition of Jadaliyya's Culture. Previous weeks can be found here, here and here. This week, with Hamdy El-Gazzar's قالت الجدة ("Quoth the Grandmother," trans. by Alex Ortiz), we initiate Hakadha narwi al-thawra, a new series of fiction from the revolutionary Arab ...  Read More »

Syrian Population Regression

Population: ~ 22.5 Million

2011:  5,800+ (killed)

2012:  60,000+ (killed) and 500,000+ (external refugees)

2013:  100,000+ (killed), 2,000,000+ (external refugees), and 8 million+ displaced



Syria Map and Stats

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Population: 22,517,750
GDP: $107.4 billion 
Unemployment: 8.3%; Youth Employment (ages 15-24): 19.1%
Internet Users: 4.469 million 
Exchange Rate: ~ 98.00 Syrian pounds per US dollar
GDP Growth Rate: 3.2% 
Military Expenditures: 5.9% of GDP (World Rank: 10)
Health Expenditures: 2.9% of GDP (World Rank: 180)
Population Growth Rate: 0.913% 
Age Structure: 0-14 years: 35.2%; 15-64 years: 61%; 65 years and over: 3.8%
Literacy: 79.6%
Religious Demographics: Sunni Muslim 74%; other Muslim (includes Alawite, Druze) 16%; Christian (various denominations) 10%
Ethnic Demographics: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%

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