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Anzour’s “King of The Sand” Depicts Shameful Details of Saudi History

 “The Saudi regime had exported terrorism to the world and here it is now exporting this plague to my beloved country, Syria,” said Najdat Anzour, the renowned Syrian filmmaker in recent remarks to the local press, highlighting his new film “King of The Sand”.

The English-spoken film, according to Anzour, constitutes an attempt of self-defense vis the global war currently being waged against Syria by foreign, regional and Arab parties. The movie uncovers unacceptable details of the history of the founder of  Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud. It depicts his shameful cooperation with the British colonialism to undermine the Hashemite rule and get rid of the Ottoman occupation in the Arab peninsula aiming at implementing a new colonialism scheme in the region.

“What made me think of producing and directing this film was the similarity between the present and the past in terms of colonialists’ attempts to fragment the region into mini states according to a Sykes-Picot –like agreements," said Anzour.

The film was produced by Anzour himself without any outside funding and away from any kind of political propaganda.

“I wanted the whole world to know the reality of the Saudi regime, who wants to give us lessons in democracy while it lacks the minimum level of respecting types of  human rights and freedoms,” Anzour said.

He added “I don’t have any problem with the softhearted people of Saudi Arabia. My problem is with the barbaric and terrorist aggression being waged by the Saudi regime and other Gulf  Sheikhdoms against Syria’s existence.”

The Syrian director pointed out that two years after the beginning of the so-called “Arab Spring” in the region, one can clearly understand that there is an evident scheme to fragment the region into mini states exactly as what happened after the Great Arab Revolution erupted early in the 20th century. That time, the British and French colonialists exploited the revolution to end the Ottoman rule and implement their domination schemes so they signed the ill-famed Sykes-Picot agreement which divided the Arab homeland.

The film also sheds light on the present Syrian daily life which grows worse because of the Saudi and Gulf funding of terrorism in Syria.

On the other hand, Anzour said that he was keen to produce the film in high techniques and with a comprehensive strategic vision that supports its competitiveness among the biggest world cinema production.

He stressed that he succeeded in promoting the film worldwide despite threats by Saudi parties to prevent its screening.

Italian actor Fabio Testi will star in the film and will act the role of “King Abdul Aziz” in his old age. Actors from England, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria will also star in the "King of The Sand".

H. Mustafa

Damascene Sword …. Symbol of Immunity, Bravery

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Damascus city had a great reputation in sword industry. The "Damascene Sword" was well- known and distinguishable from other swords. It was made of a high quality metal. The material from which the sword was made has remained a secret. Many attempts (including Europeans) were made to discover the components of this metal, but all of them failed.

Several stories were narrated about the Damascene Sword. One story says that the Damascene sword could cut steel materials. Another story says that a piece of silk was cut as it fell on its edge.

History Professor, Fayssal al-Abdullah, said that the industry of the Damascene sword dates back to the 8th century and that the legendary reputation of the Damascene sword was crystallized during the campaigns of Crusaders when the Europeans found themselves in front of soldiers who were able to defend their homeland with more developed and strong swords than the ones they had.

A monument of the Damascene sword has been erected at the Umayyad Square that signifies the strength and the immunity of the city and tells about the victories and achievements that the people had accomplished in the country.

Sh. Kh

GDAM to Prepare National Cadre to Preserve Syrian Artifacts

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Within the framework of its plan to prepare a national cadre to preserve and renovate Syrian antiquities and archeological findings, the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums (GDAM) began to organize training courses for students of the Antiquities Department at the Antiquities and Museums Faculty of Damascus University.

The courses aim to provide students with the opportunity to practically take part in all activities relating to the renovation of archeological sites and artifacts in Syria.

This is the first time the GDAM carries out such an activity which guarantees fruitful cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Damascus University, said Director of the Laboratories at the GDAM Kumait Abdullah in a statement to SANA. He stressed that the courses are open for all the students of Antiquities Department.

Ghazwan Moustafa Yaghi, Director of the Intermediate Institute for Antiquities and Museums affirmed that cooperation between the Culture Ministry and Damascus University aims to "enhance the skills of our students in discovering, renovating and maintaining our artifacts."

Mahmoud Assayed, a GDAM expert, said "building a distinguished national cadre capable of accurately studying our antiquities so we will be no longer dependent on foreign archeological mission in studying our archeological findings, is the main objective of the courses."

H. Mustafa

National plan for translating books into nine languages

The Syrian Book General Commission announced in a press conference held on Monday the commencement   of the national plan for translation.

The four-year plan mainly aims to disseminate culture of reading and develop awareness towards enhancing national belonging and adherence to identity as well as openness to other cultures.

The aforementioned goals could be realized through encouraging high-quality translation into nine languages within an integrated national system and providing  Arab library with original books of different cultures.

The plan, which also focuses on translating the Syrian Arab intellectuals' masterpieces into nine languages, seeks to document national efforts in the field of translation and post bulletins on the plan on internet to be available to all readers.

Workshops and conferences on translation are also to be mounted to boost the plan.

All types of books

Culture Minister, Lubana Mushawih, sees that the plan would help have a good store of literature and art translated into Arabic language to build knowledge society.

She told reporters that would-be translated books are to be selected by four specialized committees under accredited standards.

"Within the plan, books of literature, art, sociology, philosophy, management and Information Technology are to be translated, and six translated books on Greek philosophers are to be re-printed," the minister said.

She hopes that all parties interested in cultural sector in Damascus University, Arabization center and Arab Writers Union to present proposals to develop the plan.

Approval received

The Commission's Director General clarified that the plan was prepared in four months and the committees contain advisors on nine languages – Dutch, English, French, Italian, Polish, Turkish, Russian, Spanish, and Persian.

Waddah al-Khatib added that the Damascus-based commission has got approval for translating the selected books from publishing houses.

In all, this plan would provide readers, who would evaluate it later, with full idea about western culture in all aspects.

Basma Qaddour 

Damascus Keeps Inspiring Syrian Artists

Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, has been a source of inspiration to many Syrian artists whose paintbrushes continue to depict the city’s beauty and matchless glorious history.

 Syrian plastic artists Asem Zakarayya, Mohammad Nazeer al-Baroudi and Hisham al-Khayyat, who represent different schools of art, expressed their love to Damascus by depicting the intimate details of the Damascene life in more than thirty paintings which are currently on show at the Abu Rummaneh Cultural Center in Damascus.

Works displayed at the exhibition, which was held under the patronage of the Culture Ministry, showed the way each one of the artists sees Damascus.

Artist al-Baroudi's fourteen paintings embodied the Damascene environment, its traditional vocations even the barber and the hakawati. The artist also pictured Damascus gates with great passion using red and green oil colours which, according to him, suggest optimism, hope and vividness.

Artist and Architect Hisham Khayyat depicted in his ten panels the wonderful Damascene houses, alleys, districts and khans. He tried to employ his architectural skills in his works using shade and light beautifully to make the painted material looks normal.

In a statement to SANA, al-Khayyat said that being an architect, he used degrees of black and white colours to make his works different from those of other artists.

In his paintings, artist Asem Zakarayya lets the simple life of people in Damascus old alleys and the natural scenes in the old city speak about the peaceful nature of the Damascenes.

Haidar Yazeji, Head of the Plastic Artists Union, said the paintings participating in the exhibition are very distinguished as they have deep themes and document the intimate atmosphere of people's life in Damascus.

"We have to preserve these documentary panels either through encouraging artists or asking them to work on such subjects as most artists are living in the old but historically rich city," Yazegi said.

Critic Marwan Murad said that the Syrian plastic art movement  has witnessed notable development, pointing out that each one of the artists participating in the exhibition has a special technique, but they share love to Damascus, the beloved of all Syrians.

Murad added that artist Khayyat was so creative in using his pencil to draw beautiful miniatures and decorations usually found at Damascene houses.

H. Mustafa