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[9 Aug 2020 | No Comment | 9 views]
This is not Beirut, by Elias Khoury, The Paris Review

Photograph courtesy of © 2020 Marwan Chamaa
A few minutes after 6:00pm, Beirut time, on August 4th, I received an all too familiar WhatsApp message from a friend “Family in Beirut ok?”. I instantly knew what this meant: Something somewhere in Beirut must have exploded. I immediately go to Twitter, seeking an answer to my question: Gas leak or booby trapped car?
Ok, immediate family is safe WhatsApp confirms in parallel. I was not too worried at first. But the tone on Twitter was alarming.

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[21 Mar 2018 | No Comment | 71 views]
Sinan Antoon “Fifteen years ago, America destroyed my country” – New York Times OpEd contribution

This original contribution by Sinan Antoon was published on March 19th, 2018, in The New York Times.
When I was 12, Saddam Hussein, vice president of Iraq at the time, carried out a huge purge and officially usurped total power. I was living in Baghdad then, and I developed an intuitive, visceral hatred of the dictator early on. That feeling only intensified and matured as I did. In the late 1990s, I wrote my first novel, “I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody,” about daily life under Saddam’s authoritarian regime. Furat, the narrator, was a young college …

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[4 Sep 2017 | No Comment | 115 views]
Khaled Khalifa: “Living in a void: Life in Damascus after the exodus”

This piece is taken from Refugees Worldwide, an anthology of writing commissioned as part of a project run by the International Literature Festival Berlin. Published in The Guardian on August 22, 2017
My sister, whom I haven’t seen for more than two years, told me she was going to cross the sea in a rubber dinghy. She hung up, not wanting to hear what I thought. She merely said something profound and sentimental and entrusted her three children to my care in the event that she drowned. A few minutes later …

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[11 Jan 2017 | No Comment | 130 views]
Khalifa writes about being Syrian today in Spiegel: “The Syrians have no other hope but the sea”

My sister whom I have not seen for more than two years, told me over the phone that she would cross the ocean in a boat. Then she hung up.

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[21 Jul 2016 | No Comment | 163 views]
“We are all corpses, waiting to die” – Iraqi novelist Sinan Antoon writes in the New York Times

“Living With Death in Baghdad”
This piece was written by Sinan Antoon, for the New York Times, published on July 20th, 2016
Excerpts below.
When I was growing up in Baghdad, my favorite part of the city was Karrada, the neighborhood on the eastern bank of the Tigris where a bomb went off on July 3, killing at least 250 people. I would often go there just to stroll down its elegant streets. The main one was lined with stylish boutiques and stores selling delicious fresh juice and sandwiches. Attractive women and handsome …

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[1 Apr 2016 | No Comment | 223 views]
Khaled Khalifa “Syria is more than the image of a drowned child”

Below is an excerpt of a piece Khaled Khalifa wrote for Corriere della sera, March 2016
During my trip from Damascus to Boston, I found myself reflecting on Syria, giving it one last look. I imagined it calm, and strong; it made me think of so many things. Before leaving it for a whole year, I needed to express all these feelings. I am convinced that, despite the huge amount of destruction, Syria, my country, can still elicit an avalanche of positive adjectives.