Aleppo, a flood of suffering, how much blood is shed in my country!
I wanted to sing the pain of my country,
With a broken heart I cry for my land and the children who have become strangers in their own country.
Artists exorcise demons of Syria crisis through art
“That’s the voice we want to hear in the Arab world, not the sound of cannons!” exclaimed Nancy Ajram, a star Arab singer and jury member, as Hamdan’s fellow Syrian competitor Farah broke into tears.
I was not afraid for a moment because I believe what I am doing is necessary, especially in view of the media blackout about many aspects of the revolution. From the outset I figured there are people dying in their homes, and if I were to die in the street or on the front lines, so be it. I faced death when I was hit with shrapnel from a regime artillery shell fired on Sheikh Saeed district in Aleppo on February 7th, 2013. It broke my leg but I am recovered now.
I survived many moments that were fraught with danger while I took photographs on the front lines, and during air strikes, mortar attacks and tank shelling.
When the Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011, Nour Kelzi, a schoolteacher from Aleppo, had no idea how the war would change her life.
Kelzi, who was 23 when the conflict began, started taking amateur photographs on the front lines with her mobile phone. This eventually led to a job with the international news agency Reuters, and her current status as a well-known chronicler of the Syrian revolution.
Kelzi began her work for Reuters under the pseudonym Zain Karam to protect her family, later reverting to her real name.She spoke to Al-Shorfa about her experience as a war photographer.
We have fine and talented artists in the Arab world but circumstances are not in their favour. We reside in a spiritual part of the world and the soil of our region breathes culture. Culture is ingrained in us. Old Damascus is an accumulation of culture and civilisation throughout the ages. How do you expect artists not to emerge from this land? Our artists are committed to their humanitarian causes and those of their countries. They are mirrors of their societies.
Razan Chatti, a set designer and scenographer, is cultivating young talent under the auspices of the Afak (Horizons) foundation, which she launched in 2011.
Through Afak, she organises traveling exhibitions for artists from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, whose works carry powerful humanitarian messages.
The following is a translated transcript of a speech delivered by the Ameer of Hizb ut Tahrir, the Aalim, Ata Ibn Khalil Abu Arashtah - may Allah protect him - to the people in Al-Sham and the sincere revolutionaries, on the occasion of the glorious day of the birth of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, in the month of his Hijrah and the establishment of the great Islamic state, a state that the Muslims were glorified by, which will be established again soon, Insha’Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
To the people of Al-sham, the Abode of Islam and the sincere revolutionaries,
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
Praise be to Allah, prayer and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, companions and allies and those after them.
وَقَدْ مَكَرُوا مَكْرَهُمْ وَعِنْدَ اللَّهِ مَكْرُهُمْ وَإِنْ كَانَ مَكْرُهُمْ لِتَزُولَ مِنْهُ الْجِبَالُ
“They concocted their plots, but their plots were with Allah, even if they were such as to make the mountains vanish.”
(Surah Ibrahim, 14:46)
So you’re forcing me to choose then, between the silence of prison and the noise of the regime?
- If I were you, I’d be more worried about the silence of the grave.
Extract from the novel ‘The Silence and the Roar’ by Nihad Sirees
Fathi, a writer no longer permitted to write, makes his way through a city churned by parades for an unnamed dictator. It is a day stifled by heat and the noise of the chants, a day of people trampled, and of the brutality and bullying of the party faithful. But Fathi presses treacherously against the crowd, attempting just to visit his mother and his girlfriend.
Translated from the Arabic by Max Weiss
Publication date: 10th January 2013
Winner of the English PEN Award 2012