Essays and Features

Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya Face Criticism... But of Network Ownership or Syrian Coverage

By 
Elie Chalala

Some of the criticisms directed at major Arab media networks that support Syrian revolution are unwarranted. Critics argue that the stories of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are often politically motivated, influenced by the networks’ owners.

Some of the criticisms directed at major Arab media networks that support Syrian revolution are unwarranted. Critics argue that the stories of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are often politically motivated, influenced by the networks’ owners. It is no secret that they are alluding to Al Jazeera's Qatar and Al Arabiya’s Saudi Arabia. Since the onset of the Arab Spring, I have not stopped watching satellite TV networks like Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and BBC.

"No Shame in Apologizing!"

By 
Elie Chalala

An essay, titled "No Shame in Apologizing," written by Lebanese columnist Hussam Itani, caught my attention a few months ago. I was reminded of it last Sunday, when I  read another lengthy essay in the Sunday New York Times by Iraqi-American scholar and intellectual Kanan Makiya.

 An essay, titled "No Shame in Apologizing," written by Lebanese columnist Hussam Itani, caught my attention a few months ago. I was reminded of it last Sunday, when I  read another lengthy essay in the Sunday New York Times by Iraqi-American scholar and intellectual Kanan Makiya. In this essay, Makiya does something different from many Arab intellectuals and politicians when he apologizes or admits miscalculations and errors of judgment he made regarding American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Fatima’s Head

By 
Ziad Majed

It is hard to imagine what happened to Fatima,* and it is hard to describe the silence that engulfed the witnesses of her death. I think the artistic works on Facebook that restored her head and depicted a rose garden or the moon or the sun have tried to compensate for that terrible silence and ease the pain of Fatima and her loved ones and all of us together. 

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It is hard to imagine what happened to Fatima,* and it is hard to describe the silence that engulfed the witnesses of her death. I think the artistic works on Facebook that restored her head and depicted a rose garden or the moon or the sun have tried to compensate for that terrible silence and ease the pain of Fatima and her loved ones and all of us together. 

What can be done to a Syrian child who “lost” her head?! And what can be said to a girl sprawled in her dress on the ground, arms spread wide, her small, drooping shoulders clinging to the wall directly?

Yassin Bakoush: the Loss of Another Irreplaceable National Treasure

By 
Rebecca Joubin

On Sunday, February 24, 2013 Yassin Bakoush, one of Syria’s most talented and adored comedians, was killed as he drove through a rebel-held check-point in the Assali neighborhood. He was on his way home to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus, an area that has witnessed unyielding combat between the regime and rebels.

On Sunday, February 24, 2013 Yassin Bakoush, one of Syria’s most talented and adored comedians, was killed as he drove through a rebel-held check-point in the Assali neighborhood. He was on his way home to the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus, an area that has witnessed unyielding combat between the regime and rebels. Not surprisingly, the regime blamed “terrorists” for his death, relying on a rhetoric that has become ever more stale, transparent, and tragic.

As He Bombs Them, Assad Steals Syrian People's Good Deeds for Himself

By 
Elie Chalala

Syrian official and unofficial media, especially its supportive machine in Beirut, known as the 'rejectionist media,' loses no time giving credit where no credit is due: the generosity and the sympathies of the Syrians toward the Lebanese and Palestinians in war time are attributed to a regime that fired no single shot at the state it claims to be at war with! The pro-Assad media keeps crediting the Assad regime for good deeds of the Syrian people who welcomed tens of thousands of Lebanese refugees during the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

Letter from Syria -- From the Back Window, Raghad

By 
NAJAT ABDUL SAMAD

Raghad was thin and her appearance was as spare as the room that had become a new home to her and to her mother, her six brothers, and her uncle’s family. 

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Raghad was thin and her appearance was as spare as the room that had become a new home to her and to her mother, her six brothers, and her uncle’s family. 

Her thinness resembled the stem of basil she carried with her to the refugee camp. Her mother had yelled, “We have no place for the basil.  Leave it!”  But Raghad didn’t listen.  “If I leave it here it will die, ma!”   She carried it in one hand and a bag full of possessions in the other… no toys.

Syrian Stories from 'The World of Ghosts'

Ahmad's Story
By 
Elie Chalala

Over the years, we have devoted generous space to covering dissent by Arab intellectuals, especially the Syrians. We believed that most of them who were arrested and imprisoned for long periods of time (poet Farag Bayrakdar, 14 years; Riadh al-Turk, 17 years; Yassin al-Haj Saleh, 16 years) had been seen as members of different leftist and communist parties, thus posing threats to a repressive regime. But after reading Michel Kilo's stories from his time in Al Maza Military Prison (the article to follow is based on one of Kilo's stories), it is clear that even ordinary Syrians, who hardly harbor any hostile feelings toward the regime have spent similar periods of imprisonment.

Right

Over the years, we have devoted generous space to covering dissent by Arab intellectuals, especially the Syrians. We believed that most of them who were arrested and imprisoned for long periods of time (poet Farag Bayrakdar, 14 years; Riadh al-Turk, 17 years; Yassin al-Haj Saleh, 16 years) had been seen as members of different leftist and communist parties, thus posing threats to a repressive regime.

The Children's Revolution:

Youth and the Syrian Rebellion
By 
Farag Bayrakdar
0

It's okay to cry a little for Syria and her people.And it's also okay to believe freedom is near.

The tsunami of Tunisian revolution toppled Arab dictatorships. Although Husni Mubarak believed Egypt would be immune to the fate of Ben Ali’s Tunisia, he soon was overthrown. Gaddhafi, Africa’s self-proclaimed “King of Kings,” said Libya would be different, as well. 

Right

It's okay to cry a little for Syria and her people.And it's also okay to believe freedom is near.

The tsunami of Tunisian revolution toppled Arab dictatorships. Although Husni Mubarak believed Egypt would be immune to the fate of Ben Ali’s Tunisia, he soon was overthrown. Gaddhafi, Africa’s self-proclaimed “King of Kings,” said Libya would be different, as well. There was no difference except that he became a war criminal, who didn't hesitate to blindly bomb Libyan cities with Grad rockets. In the end, he was captured in a drain. So closed the history of the crazed despot.   

Prison: Geography of Despotism

By 
Hala Muhammad

Prison:  A Geography of Despotism without a Place in the Nation

A picture of a wood stove warms hearts.

The gas stove in the picture has an odor.

The prisoner never drew a stove on the prison walls or on the screeching iron gates. 

The geography of the prison is coldness and solitude.

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Prison: A Geography of Despotism without a Place in the Nation

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