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[25 May 2011 | No Comment | 210 views]

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.

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[22 May 2011 | No Comment | 118 views]

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”.

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[18 May 2011 | No Comment | 160 views]

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.”

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[15 May 2011 | No Comment | 602 views]

The relation between popular movements in the Arab world is clear: our regimes have in common despotism and corruption, although some claim to be concerned primarily with the defense of national interests and others, by economic growth. Popular demands are also the same: freedom, from which our peoples have long been deprived, and dignity after so many humiliations and so many violations of basic human rights. The powers in place borrow each other’s rhetoric and display a shocking ignorance of what is happening deep within their countries. The Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs giggled when a reporter asked him a question about the possibility of a revolution in Egypt as in Tunisia. And the Syrian president responded in the same manner to a question about the impact of the Egyptian revolution in Syria…

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[13 May 2011 | No Comment | 287 views]

Interview of Khaled Khalifa by Peter Puchot, for Mediapart:

“I defend the right of my people for democracy, I closely watch the process of change of which I can actually testify. For the first time in 40 years, the Syrian society begins to break the wall of fear. It’s as if it saw itself for the first time: (it sees) fear of the future and at the same time, confidence to lead its way into it. Since the departure of Mubarak, I’ve been waiting for the Syrian revolt, but I could not imagine what form it would take, nor where it would be triggered.”

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[27 Apr 2011 | 2 Comments | 3,355 views]

SAMAR YAZBEK 40 years old, blue eyed gentle cosmopolitan. Watching her at first, it is impossible to tell from which part of the world she is. But then it takes little to realize how deeply a daughter of Syria she is. How delighted she is with her language, Arabic, to which she has dedicated her studies, and which has accompanied her work as a feminist and political activist, as a journalist, screenwriter for cinema and TV, and especially a writer. It also takes little to realize that this soft aspect of hers hides an immense courage.