The Shell

In 2001, following the release of several hundred political prisoners, the Syrian government ordered the closure of its most notorious detention center—Tadmur Military Prison. Located in the desert near the ancient site of Palmyra and originally built by the French Mandate authorities, Tadmur has been described as a "kingdom of death and madness" by Syrian … Continue reading The Shell

Withdrawal

  The fact that global attention has recently been directed exclusively to the experience of the Civil War in Syria that started in 2011 has led to a lack of recognition for contemporary Syrian cultural works that were produced prior to 2011. Today’s review is about one such work by Mohammad al-Attar. Mohammad al-Attar is … Continue reading Withdrawal

The Frightened

photo by Richard Sammour “The experience of living in a country like Syria is very enriching despite its cruelty” Dima Wannous is a Syrian writer currently living in London. For her, writing is both an escape and a way to make sense of life as a Syrian. Dima studied French Literature at Damascus University and … Continue reading The Frightened

“Answer me, Leila”

  This beautiful book is a playful retelling of the fairy tale Rapunzel, but with a twist. Leila and Sami keep missing each other: she sits up in her high tower waiting for him, but no matter how many times he comes and calls for her, she doesn’t answer. He wonders why, until he realizes … Continue reading “Answer me, Leila”

TOMORROW

This is a moving and thought-provoking illustrated story dedicated to Syrian children faced with anxiety and fear during the Syrian civil war. But it’s a powerful tale that will resonate with all readers, particularly those who have never considered what it is like to be a child in a warzone. Yazen hasn’t been to school … Continue reading TOMORROW

THE JASMINE SNEEZE

  Libraries are at the heart of the community and they have the potential to bring people together while also offering individuals life-changing opportunities. One important way that libraries can encourage immigrant and refugee families to visit is to stock a range of picture books for younger readers in bilingual and monolingual editions in a … Continue reading THE JASMINE SNEEZE

A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution

  Reading A Woman in the Crossfire in the Fall of 2012 was not easy; the pain and suffering, both personal and collective, recorded by Samar Yazbek during the first one hundred days of Syria’s uprising against the regime continues unabated, and shamelessly without any effective international effort to relieve the suffering of civilians coming … Continue reading A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution

Damascus Nights

  Storytelling is among the oldest forms of communication. Storytelling is the commonality of all human beings, in all places, in all times. – Rives Collins, American author and Northwestern University professor. Thus through the ages from Homer to Chaucer to Scheherazade to Shakespeare to Dickens, and to all the modern day tale tellers, and … Continue reading Damascus Nights

Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline

Syria Speaks is a collection of “art and culture from the frontline” of the Syrian revolution published simultaneously in English and Arabic at a time when the revolution had been underway for three years and been transformed into an armed conflict in which millions of Syrians had been displaced both internally and externally, and in … Continue reading Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline