Articles Archive for May 2011
If the regime falls, there is inevitably a difficult period of transition. During that period, the freedom for all political parties must be restored, there must be a free press, and an active political debate that will allow free and transparent elections within half or a full year. We will go through many obstacles in order to build a democracy, that’s for sure. And maybe, we will take some steps back. But we must go on. We must fight the impression that Syria will fall into a civil or religious war. It is very important that the Syrian people show that they are now united. That we fight together for our democracy.
The reasons for censoring this book were the ways in which the writer gave a human face to the religious extremists, the harshness with which he described the oppression and, above all, the way in which he has explained violence against the Alauliti, religious group to which the family of al- Assad belongs.
In praise of hatred is a must read for several reasons. First of all, the books introduces us to a new author in the world of Arabic literature, who has great literary depth, comparable to Faulkner and Garcia Marquez, which Khalifa cites as his preferred authors, but who do not have a profound influence on his writing. Another name seems to linger between the lines of this novel, and that is perhaps the name of Gibran, especially for the longing moral sense of freedom, that the complex story seems to suggest.
2012 is the 6th edition of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.
The call for applications is now open, and the deadline is September 1st 2011.
The book describes the bloody crackdown in 1980 by the regime of Hafez Al Assad, father of the current Syrian president and “founder” of the clan in power that has dominated the last half-century Damascus, and stood against an attempted revolt led by the Muslim Brotherhood. It is this story that Khalifa tells through the voices the characters of his novel, members of Syrian ordinary families, with their stories of love, hope and betrayal, who found themselves caught between fundamentalism and a police corrupt regime. In the background, unfolds the moral and material destruction of an entire country. “The city (of Aleppo), one time proud to be called the Vienna of the East, had become a fortress in ruins, inhabited by ghosts who were afraid”.
An interview by Riccardo Stagliano for Venerdi, Supplement to La Repubblica, May 13th, 2011: “The Syrian culture, in its daily practices, does not allow intransigence. The history of Syria bears witness to a big openness to the Other. If the Syrians had accepted extremism, the Muslim Brotherhood would have had an easy game to win in the eighties. I believe that the Syrian society will make the roots of its civilization prevail again and for the first time in five centuries, the Syrians will be able to start building a democracy that represents them, based on tolerance and on the use of free elections.”