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Khalifa to Ansa: “Aleppo will know how to get up again”

Published by Ansa Med [1], March 19, 2018

“We would have liked the government to listen to us, to open up a new path for human rights and a better life, but we were a group of deluded, dreamers: we did not understand that it is not allowed for Arabs to enjoy democracy” . So the Syrian writer Khaled Khalifa spoke of the first hopes of change nourished by the demonstrations in the square of March 2011, then resulted in repression and in the last, tragic seven years of war.

“At this moment we have so many enemies and no friends – he continued – let us go our way”. Khalifa was the guest of a meeting with the public at “Libri Come”, the book festival that ended yesterday at the Rome Auditorium. Here he presented his latest novel “There are no knives in the kitchens of this city” (Bompiani) set in Aleppo when to lead Syria (between 1971 and 2000) was Hafez al Assad, father of the incumbent President Bashar al Assad . A book in which he tells how the fear of dictatorship and the instinct to silence “grew under the skin” from year to year, transforming people and gradually closing the spaces of freedom that at least young people like him could carve out.

But it is the drama of today that has dominated the meeting: a drama in which – as Amnesty International spokesperson Riccardo Noury ​​recalled – in a population of 21 million Syrians, 11 million are now displaced or displaced; and where Khalifa’s Arabic sweet and musical language was overlapped by the many other languages ​​of the militia in war: the Lebanese or Iraqi Arabic, the Afghan dialects, the Russian and the Persian spread among the loyalists, Tunisian Arab and Libyan, the Chechen and the Maldivian language spoken on the rebel front.

Yet Khalifa, after so many tragedies and destructions that continue in a more and more torn up Syria, still declares his optimism. “Where does the hope come from?” From the fact that it is not possible to live without – he replied – but also by the fact that Aleppo is the city from which hope always spreads: Aleppo is a city fallen many times in history, but every time She got up again, it’s a cursed city but it’s not possible to die.” Read more in Italian [1]

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