17 Young Talents Win Solhi Al-Wadi International Competition

(ST) - The jury of the "Solhi Al Wadi" competition for young talents on the piano announced the names of winners, who were divided into four age groups, during a "solo performance" held by the winners at Dar Al Assad for Culture and Arts.

The selection of the winners has been done under specific criteria such as; how to put their hands on the piano as they are playing the musical composition, their understanding of the musical school of the composer they are playing his music. In addition to the character of the performer and his way to convey the messages and feelings through his play and his accuracy in translating the musical text to a melody on the stage.

During the closing ceremony, the winners performed classical vocal compositions by international authors such as Schubert, Bach, Bertini, Cherty, Hayden, Rachmaninov, Heller, Mozart and Dia Soukari.

Certificates and many awards have been given to the winners and the participants in the ceremony.

 The closing ceremony was preceded by carrying out a professional workshop for the students participating in the competition which is considered a good opportunity for them, especially those coming from the provinces, to introduce them to the international standards of playing the piano in the case that they  participate in this kind of competitions in the future.

On the symbolic revival of this contest on July 7, director and founder of the competition, Dr. Wassem Kotoub said in an interview with the Syria times e-newspaper : "We, and after 7 years, have prepared to revive the competition on the seventh day of the seventh month, as the number 7 indicates the sign of the victory.

After a dialogue with the Ministries of Culture and Tourism and Dar al-Assad for Music and the Directorate of Musical Institutes, we decided to hold this competition for the current year to give hope to the youth that our country, the cradle of art, civilization, heritage and love, is restoring its glory and bright again.

Dr. Kotoub stressed: "The competition witnessed a great participation from various Syrian governorates and cities in addition to the distinguished Arab participation from Iraq and Tunisia. For the members of the committee there was also an international presence represented by Ecuador and Finland.

Dr. Kotoub wished for  those who have not been lucky this year to participate again in the coming year, especially that it will be available for those who are over 18 years to participate in the coming competition , which gives greater opportunities for musical institutes and governorates, Arab and foreign countries to participate in it, pointing out that they are working, as a future strategy, to organize workshops for the winners outside Syria.

"Our future plans also include partnerships with other international competitions, so the winner will be qualified for the final round of the other competition", Dr. Kotoub concluded.

Member of the international jury, Maestro Missak Baghboudarian, expressed happiness and great joy for being a member of this jury that gives him the opportunity to discover many distinctive talents and to touch the firm will of these children to continue, to love,to live and to rebuild the better future. "This proves that the war could not kill the love of life and love of art in them, and that there is a bright future waiting for us, thanks to these children and their sincere desire and love for music.

"I learned a lot from these kids, I love their pure souls.  In spite of the strong competition among them, they were playing and communicating with each other with the utmost love and respect. I wish the children who were not able to win prizes this year to participate in the coming year with a new competitive spirit and a greater determination and desire to achieve excellence," Mr. Baghboudarian affirmed.

Dr. Hamsa Al-Wadi Juris, a member of the jury, said: " I was amazed and pleased to meet all these outstanding talents. These children were able to enchant the audience who sat listening to them with complete silence and admiration.

"I hope that the upcoming competitions will witness more participation at the local, Arab and international levels and that the study of the piano will be easier than it is now," he added.

Talking about their participation in the competition, Maestro, Mohammad Nizar Farhat, said : "We represented Lattakia Governorate in this competition with 6 students and we got two prizes: The first place prize for category A and the first place prize for category B plus the special prize for playing with the National Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro Missak Baghboudrian. It was a great experience for our students to participate for the first time in an international competition".

It is noteworthy that the competition aimed at those under the age of 18, began in 2007 at the level of Syria and in 2008 took an international character. In 2012 the competition was halted due to the terrorist war on Syria. Now in 2019, the competitions were resumed again with qualified Syrian cadres and an international jury that includes Maestro, Missak Baghboudrian from Syria, Hamsa Al-Wadi Juris and Carlos Yoris from Finland, with 45 participants, mostly from the Syrian provinces. The Arab participants were from Tunisia and Iraq.

Interviewed by: Amal Farhat

She Defies Reality to Realize Her Dreams

(ST)- In her recently published novel, "The Curse of a Dream", the novelist and writer Khadija Baddour, describes the beauty of the Syrian countryside and its people who are characterized by simplicity, love, amity and dedication for others.

The 193- pages of medium-sized novel incarnates the character of a rural woman who is a model of the Syrian generous and helpful woman, who works hard for her family. However, she was a victim of her husband and her society and both of them halted and seized her dreams. Nevertheless, she remained steadfast and resisted all challenges to achieve what she aspires to and to rise up again as a phoenix. Although she becomes white-haired, her dreams have always been present and never vanished. She insisted waiting for achieving these dreams no matter how long does they take.

The novel shows the feelings of love and nostalgia, the novelist sought to devote in her work, to face the negative phenomena in society to conclude the curse of a dream in the hope that the dream will become a reality, referring to what the children of Palestine are doing, those children, who plant the flowers of resistance and water them with their pure blood, must grow up and achieve victory.

It is worth to mention that Mrs. Baddour is a poet, a story writer and social guide from Homs and has many works of fiction and documentation. She has a poetry collection entitled (Lamar).

Amal Farhat - Homs

Prof. Tim Anderson’s forthcoming book argues how definitive defeat of imperial forces necessitates integrated resistance

“Axis of Resistance: towards an independent Middle East” is the title of a new book written by Professor Tim Anderson and it deals with the end of the war on Syria and the wider elements of the regional conflict, in particular the prospects for a democratic Palestine, the character of the Resistance and the role of Iran.

It draws attention to the broad leitmotifs underpinning each particular history that are key to understanding both the parts and the whole, addressing myths about the wars and the resistance, while attempting a partial and provisional history of the conflicts.

“This focus on resistance is crucial to understanding the defeat of great powers, something not possible for any analysis which begins and ends with power,” according to the Australian author.

He affirms that like all imperial gambits before it Washington-led plan has been to subjugate the entire ME region – whether through the direct application of force, or through coalitions or proxies – to secure privileged access to its tremendous resources and then dictate terms of access to all other players.

Islamic Principles of Peace-Building

Today, the countries and communities can no longer afford to live in isolation from each other. In our closely interlinked world, peace and prosperity for everyone crucially depends on harmonious relations between communities and countries.

Islam, as per the Quran teachings and examples provides inspiration and appropriate guidance peaceful relations between communities and countries and for non- violent conflict resolution and peace building methods and approaches. Islam positively encourages its followers to work for peace and for harmonious relations between them and people belonging to other communities.

The role of Islam in conflict settlement and peace building has often been depicted in binary terms: it is seen as a source either of violence or of reconciliation. Islam is being seen as inherently violent and that all forms of Islamism are nothing but an antecedent of violence, terrorism and totalitarianism.

Islam has a very rich inheritance of addressing the conflicts in the world but sadly it is alleged as a part of problem not unlikely. The Islamic texts and Muslim heritage approaches to the conflict resolution drawn on religious values, presents a considerable wealth of responses based on positive solutions to the conflict.

Islam means to enter into a state of peace, through the submission to God. The Qur’an is the fundamental source of Islamic law. It contains norms for all areas of life, including also conflict and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

The conflict resolution mechanisms that have been developed and effectively applied to resolve conflicts in Islamic culture such as mediation ‘wasata’ reconciliation ‘sulh’, dialogue and ‘hiwar. In the Qur’an there are also general principles regarding peace building process.

  • Sulh: (conciliation) The Qur'an constantly uses the word ‘Sulh’ in resolving all types of conflicts. It means seeking peace, reconciliation, compromise and settlement. The Qur’an commends Suhl that means conciliation, as the superior moral course of action to be taken by disputing parties. The active form of the same commandments is ‘Islah’, that means to make something good, properly or to reconcile and settle. Reconciliation refers to different possible kind of amicable settlements, to compromises and to the willingness to submit the conflict to the decision of arbitrators ‘Hakam’.
  • Wasta: (Mediation) In peace- building process, one of the options to resolve dispute and conflicts is mediation ‘wasta’. The third-party mediator would ensure that all parties were satisfied with the outcome. Other practices could use ‘tahkeem’ or using intermediaries to represent the parties. These intermediaries should be able to represent the parties' position as clearly as possible to negotiate on their behalf, and guarantee that the parties receive a fair settlement.
  • Hiwar: (Negotiations) Negotiation is a powerful method for resolving conflicts. Negotiation is a diplomatic activity and it takes place in return to the exchange of information and understanding. The basic techniques are: Encouragement, compromise and bargaining. In Islam we find the most palpable negotiation technique compromise which was made functional by the Prophet of Islam in the treaty of Hudaybiya in order to reach to an agreement concerning the demands of both of Muslims and Quraish.

Negotiation is most powerful approach to find solutions of all divergent issues. The essential lesson from this plurality is to dialogue, collaborate and cooperate and develop a real healthy understanding of one another.

The Islamic precepts are meant to maintain peaceful, healthy, meaningful relationships with all of humanity, but sometimes, relationship is disrupted by conflicts, whether interpersonal, communal, national or international. Its restoration is essential for the sake of fairness and justice. Peace-building efforts work towards preventing an escalation of conflict and establishing a durable and self-sustaining peace.

Hence, to come out a concrete solution of dispute and conflict occurred in individual, national or international level, the Islamic mechanisms are mediation ‘wasata’ reconciliation ‘sulh’, dialogue and ‘hiwar. These are the essential steps for living in peace and resolving all conflicts and peace -building process.   

Dr. Meraj Ahmad Meraj

Assistant Professor

Department of Arabic, Aliah University, Kolkata

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Two hundred and fifty titles in a book fair at the Cultural Center in Homs

Homs, (ST)- The publications displayed by the Book Fair at the Cultural Center in Homs were varied to include literary studies and translations from English, French, Russian, novels and children's stories.

The 10- day exhibition was organized by "Linda House "for printing, distribution and publishing on the occasion of opening its branch in Homs, where poet Haifa' Omran Hassan has autographed the first edition of her Poetic collection entitled, Nafahat Wattan, " whiffs of Homeland".

As for the purpose of  holding the exhibition in Homs, the poet Linda Abdul-Baqi, the owner of the house, said : " We founded the house ten years ago in the city of Sweida and I have chosen the city of Homs to be a branch of the House due to the cultural heritage of the city, which has its distinctive mark in the literary field. In addition to the elite and prominent literary personalities in Homs that will contribute to a remarkable cultural renaissance, in which, the book will play a key role as it is the first source of the peoples' culture regardless of the technological development reached by those nations".

Visitors highlighted the exhibition in terms of the books and their authors who have their distinguished impression in the cultural domain inside and outside Syria.

Amal Farhat- Homs