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[14 May 2013 | No Comment | 171 views]
Wannous’ ‘Rituals’ in the Comedie francaise: A visionary play and a symbolic timing

The symbolism is striking given that the play, which was written in 1994, in the time of Hafez El-Assad, clearly announces what we today observe on either side of the Mediterranean. One thinks of the Arab spring, but also, if one carefully listens to Wannous, one thinks of all the sexual and financial scandals which happen at the same time a little more to the North.

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[14 May 2013 | No Comment | 489 views]
Saadallah Wannous at the Comedie Francaise: The first time ever an Arabic work is included in the French repertoire

For the first time, an Arabic work makes its way into the repertoire of the Comédie française: Rituals of a metamorphosis, by Saadallah Wannous. In the long history of the House of Molière, which, this year, celebrates its 333rd birthday, this is an important event.

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[13 May 2013 | No Comment | 77 views]

I had to return to Syria. Assad’s aircrafts were bombing bakeries, villages and farms. They bombarded civilians with explosives and sent a rain of poison down. In July last year I went back to the north, to the village of Banash, near Idlib. It was here that I saw the real Syria for the first time. The assault was continuous. Snipers were dotted throughout the rebel-controlled areas and Free Syrian Army checkpoints were all along the roads. There was scarcely any sign of extremist Islamists. In towns such as Saraqeb, the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and Muthafar al‑Nawab and songs of love and struggle spread through the streets. The notion of a civil state dominated. The economic situation had deteriorated but was still bearable and sectarian tensions were not high. I travelled between the villages of the liberated north, hearing stories of death and heroism. I had conversations with various factions of the FSA, who spoke of a civil state even though many of them were Islamists.