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[30 Jul 2013 | No Comment | 223 views]
Al Ahram English reviews Khalifa’s “There are no knives”

Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa continues in his new novel No Knives in this City’s Kitchens what he begun in his previous masterpiece, In Praise of Hatred (2006) — excavating contemporary Syrian society’s memory.

He starts from what one family has gone through in Aleppo, which he describes as the punished city, while In Praise of Hatred focused on the distortions made by death squads or the “Party Action Squads” in the psyches of its members during the events in Hama in the 1980s. The novel explores the price paid by Syrians for living parallel to the life of the ruling party for near half a century.

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[8 Jul 2013 | No Comment | 339 views]
Samar Yazbek at Ways With Words 2013

Samar Yazbek, at Dartington’s Ways With Words: “We are going to need multiple revolutions. We have had dictators and now we have extremists. But we have the backbone to our society that means there could be a great democracy. We just have to keep fighting.”

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[1 Jul 2013 | 2 Comments | 642 views]
Khaled Khalifa’s “There are no knives in the kitchens of the city”

The 260 pages novel details life under the Asad regime, in the period spanning from the early 60’s, to 2005.

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[16 Jun 2013 | No Comment | 156 views]


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[13 May 2013 | No Comment | 73 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.

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[10 Jan 2013 | No Comment | 213 views]

The Syrian writer and journalist Samar Yazbek will be receiving the Oxfam Novib / PEN Award on Thursday, January 17. Samar Yazbek was witness to brutal violence against demonstrating citizens in her country. She wrote about it, then received serious threats and finally had to flee the country with her daughter.
The Oxfam Novib / PEN Award is presented annually to writers and journalists who are being persecuted for their work, or have had to flee.