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Faraj Bayraqdar, Excerpts from "Mirrors of Absence"

Faraj Ahmad Bayrakdar was born in Homs, Syria, in 1951. He studied Arabic at the University of Damascus. He was arrested by Syrian Military Intelligence in 1987 on suspicion of membership of the Party for Communist Action. He was held incommunicado for almost seven years and was tortured. In 1993 he was sentenced to ...  Read More »

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فرج بيرقدار، مقاطع من مرايا الغياب

كان يمكن لهذه المرايا أن تكون مطراً صافياً أو صمتاً صافياً أو دمعاً صافياً على الأقل. بيد أن الظروف كانت من حجر وكان صليل الزمان والمكان مضرَّجاً بما يشبه الدم وبما يشبه الجنون وبما يشبه الآلهة وبما لا يشبه شيئاً على الإطلاق. ١ شكراً لما لا بدَّ لهُ أن يمضي. وشكراً لما لا بدَّ لهُ أن ...  Read More »

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All Sides Interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor on Killing of Osama Bin Ladin

[This is an interview conducted with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on May 3, 2011, by Ann Fisher on her WOSU show, All Sides. The interview addresses the significance of Osama Bin Ladin's death in Muslim, Arab, and Western states. It also discusses recent developments with the Arab uprisings, in particular the ...  Read More »

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Two Films for the Syrian Unraveling

A Flood in Baath Country. Directed by Omar Amiralay. 2003. Tea on the Axis of Evil. Directed by Jean Marie Offenbacher. 2009.   As detentions of Syrian activists escalate and reports surface of nearly 500 dead, it is worth recalling that during the throes of Tahrir Square three months ago, all seemed quiet in ...  Read More »

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حنين إلى الضوء

 حنين إلى الضوء    سنان أنطون “إلى أحرار سوريا”           ضع أذنك اليمنى أو اليسرى على الأرض وانصت . . . هل تسمع الأقمار وهي تختنق بالتراب؟ الأشجار تشهق تمدّ جذورها لتقبّل جباه الموتى الجدد الأغصان ترتعش وليس لدى الريح ما تقوله الآن الليل ...  Read More »

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Bashar al-Asad to Announce Amending Article 8 of the Constitution?

[The following was reported by Syria Now on May 5, 2011. The original Arabic version of the story can be found here. Translation by Ziad Abu-Rish.] News source: President Bashar al-Asad will soon announce amending Article 8 of the constitution . . . but no formation of religious parties allowed in Syria. The ...  Read More »

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Syria: Quickly Going Beyond the Point of No Return

[Below is latest from the International Crisis Group (ICG) on Syria] Syria: Quickly Going Beyond the Point of No Return The situation in Syria is quickly going beyond the point of no return. By denouncing all forms of protest as sedition, and dealing with them through escalating violence, the regime is closing the ...  Read More »

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Al-Jazeera's "Inside Story" Debate on International Intervention in Syria, with Jadaliyya Co-Editor

[From AJE] It has been an uprising that has so far claimed more than 450 lives. And with Friday billed another day of rage, violence in Syria does not seem to be abating. Western powers have now convened a special session of the UN's top human rights body on Friday to investigate possible abuses by Bashar ...  Read More »

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غنائم البارون ماكس فون آوبنهايم: الآلهة السورية إنبعثت من جديد في برلين [The Baron's Trophies: Syrian Gods Resurrected in Berlin]

تعود تماثيل الآلهة الأثرية لمملكة تل حلف السورية مرة أخرى إلى الحياة في متحف بيرغامون للحفريات التاريخية بعدما كانت قد تعرضت للقصف في برلين عام 1943 وتحطمت إلى 27 الف قطعة. سجل معرض «الآلهة الناجية من قصر تل حلف» في الأسابيع الثلاثة الأولى منذ إفتتاحه في شهر كانون الثاني ( يناير) حضوراً مميزاً تجاوز خمسين ألف زائراً، ...  Read More »

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مزمور

  مزمور ”إلى شهداء سوريا"   لا يذهب الشهداءُ إلى الجنّة فأبوابها مغلقة منذ قرون والتجّار الذين اشتروا أنهارها ينظرون من الشرفات العالية إلى الطوابير الطويلة وحشود المشرّدين في الخارج   Read More »

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Syrian Petition for Political Change: A Dramatic Missed Opportunity

Given the atrocities currently committed in Syria and the spectacularly bad press this generates for the regime, one would think that issuing an effective petition calling for political change in this country would be an easy task. All such a petition needs to do is to jump on the bandwagon of rapidly mounting ...  Read More »

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The Arab Uprisings and US Policy (Panel Video)

On Thursday, April 28th, 2011, the Middle East Policy Coucil held a one-day conference on Capitol Hill  in Washingtong D.C., "featuring a discussion of the populist movements sweeping across the Arab world, their regional and global consequences, and how they are impacting U.S. interests and policy ...  Read More »

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After Syria's "Great Friday": Al-Jazeera Interview with Bassam Haddad (conducted on April 23)

Below is Al-Jazeera's interview on Syria with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad after the events of "Great Friday" on April 22nd, the bloodiest day that Syria witnessed since the beginning of the uprisings. In this interview, conducted on Saturday April 23rd, Bassam discusses the events as a ...  Read More »

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A Damascene Diary

This account of events in Damascus, Syria, on Friday April 1st 2011 was originally published in Al Quds al ‘Arabi on April 7th, 2011. *** I will infiltrate the dreams of the killers. I will ask them: did you look into their eyes when your bullets closed in on their chests? Did you glimpse the hole of life? Before ...  Read More »

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Interview with Bassam Haddad on Developments in Syria (Conducted by Sharam Aghamir)

 AUDIO PLAYER BELOW A wave of protests have been shaking Syria since nearly the middle of March.The protests that began by calling for political reforms,escalated after the security forces opened fired on demonstrators in the southern city of Dar'a. Shahram Aghamir of Pacifaca's Voices of the Middle East and ...  Read More »

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زمن عربي جديد [A New Arab Era]

لم يتمركز السوريون في احدى ساحات دمشق كي يبدأوا منها انتفاضتهم. كانت البداية في مدينة درعا عاصمة منطقة حوران، ثم اتخذت شكل تحركات متنقلة من اللاذقية الى حمص الى القامشلي الى بانياس الى دمشق الى دوما... المشهد السوري يختلف عن المشهد في تونس او مصر او البحرين او اليمن او ليبيا. كل بلد يكتشف بنفسه وعبر تجربته الخاصة ...  Read More »

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Democracy Now! Interview with Bassam Haddad on Syria

This is an interview conducted with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on Tuesday, April 19 in reference to polarizing regime-protesters dynamics in Syria. The interview addresses the recent events in Homs, the 1982 legacy of regime violence, and the nature of contemporary oppositional forces including their relations ...  Read More »

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Al-Jazeera Interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor on Syria

This is a two-part interview (10 minutes total) conducted with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on Monday, April 19, in reference to what amounts to be an escalation in the regime-protesters confrontation in the city of Homs. The interview also addresses the question of infiltrators and/or external forces meddling in ...  Read More »

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Prospects for the Sectarian Terrain (Part II)

[Read Part I here.]  On the afternoon of 17 March there was a government-supported demonstration in Baghdad's Karada neighborhood. About 100 demonstrators were provided with police escorts who closed the road on their behalf, unlike the police resistance protestors usually face in Iraq. Protestors carried ...  Read More »

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List of Demands by Youth of March 15 in Dar'a, Syria

[This statement was originally issued in Arabic by Dir'a's Youth of March 15. The English translation was made available by The Angry Arab News Service.] Leadership of the Glorious Revolution of the Youth of 15 March, Diraa – Syria To the Syrian people;  to the descendants of Salih al-Ali, Sultan Pasha ...  Read More »

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On the Re-Mythification of the Arab

Accompanying the ongoing events in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and Libya has been an emerging narrative of an “Arab awakening” that has been launched by so-called Arab revolutionaries. One can see this slogan, “the Arab Awakening,” promoted through various media, not least by the increasingly popular ...  Read More »

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Protests on the Rise Again in Syria: A Report from Jadaliyya Affiliate in Damascus

Today, Friday, April 9th, was a difficult day in Syria, with many more protesters killed and injured during after-prayers demonstrations. It seems the protests are resuming their momentum and expanding beyond remote towns and cities to cover increasing areas of major cities like Damascus (Videos coming tomorrow, ...  Read More »

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عن سورية: لقاء مع ياسين الحاج صالح [On Syria: Interview with Yassin Al Haj Saleh

  ياسين الحاج صالح كاتب ومعارض سوري، قضى ستة عشر عاماً في السجن أثناء حكم حافظ الأسد. من كتبه سوريا في الظل: نظرات داخل الصندوق الأسود (جدار٢٠٠٩). يجيب هنا على بعض الأسئلة التي طرحتها جدلية عليه حول الأوضاع في سوريا.    سنان أنطون: ما هو تحليلك للوضع الحالي في سوريا؟ تحديداً تعامل النظام مع ...  Read More »

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Syrian Movement Calls for Political Prisoner Awareness Day

[The below report was issued by the February 17 Youth Movement for Democratic Change in Syria on April 3, 2011. The group, which was formed in the aftermath of Husni Mubarak's resignation, is calling for the designation of Friday April 8, 2011, to be a day focused on political prisoners in Syrian jails. The report ...  Read More »

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Roundtable on Syria Today (Part 3): Is Syria Different?

This is the last installment (Part 3) of the first Jadaliyya Roundtable on Syria, moderated by Bassam Haddad and Joshua Landis, of Syria Comment. It features Steven Heydemann, Fred Lawson, David Lesch, and Patrick Seale. This post will be published on both Jadaliyya and Syria Comment. [See Part 1 here, and Part ...  Read More »

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Waiting for Death: I Will Not Carry Flowers to my Grave

It’s not true that, when Death comes, it will have your eyes! And it’s not at all true that the desire for love resembles the desire for death. It’s not the same moment - maybe those desires are similar in nothingness because both are swimming in dissipation. In love, we merge with the other. In death, we merge with ...  Read More »

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Roundtable on Syria Today (Part 2): On Portrayal

This is Part 2 of our first Jadaliyya Roundtable on Syria, moderated by Bassam Haddad and Joshua Landis, of Syria Comment. It features Steven Heydemann, Fred Lawson, David Lesch, and Patrick Seale. This post will be published on both Jadaliyya and Syria Comment. [See Part 1 here and Part 3 ...  Read More »

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Roundtable on Syria Today (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of the first Jadaliyya Roundtable on Syria, moderated by Bassam Haddad and Joshua Landis, of Syria Comment. It features Steven Heydemann, Fred Lawson, David Lesch, and Patrick Seale. This post will be published on both Jadaliyya and Syria Comment. [See Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and ...  Read More »

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Al-Jazeera English Interview with Bassam Haddad on President Bashar's Speech

This interview was conducted by Al-Jazeera English with Jadaliyya Co-Editor, Bassam Haddad. It focused on the reactions to President Bashar's speech on Wednesday, in which viewers expected him to announce wide-ranging reforms. No such reforms were announced, triggering a spate of disappointments inside Syria and ...  Read More »

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The Meaning of "Syrian Opposition Figures Urge Peaceful Change" Story from Reuters

This (report from Reuters here and below) is not an insignificant call from the traditionally vociferous leadership of the opposition, including those who were imprisoned for years after the botched "Damascus Spring" after 2001. The likes of Michel Kilo and `Arif Dalila were among the most outspoken critics ...  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

 

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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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