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Over 7000 Books on Show at Arab Book Fair in Lattakia

 LATTAKIA, (ST) - More than 7000 books, dealing with literature, philosophy, history, politics, education, science, heritage, society, art and human resources development, are on show at the Arab Book Fair in Lattakia.

The month-long fair, which was organized by al-Majd Publication and Distribution House, is being held within the framework of Al-Assad Culture House program for this month aiming to encourage reading.

Eskandar Mayya, the head of the Directorate of Culture in Lattakia, said the event is an invitation to all social categories to return to the world of paper books. It is an opportunity to revive the relation between individuals and paper books, as digital reading has overwhelmed the cultural scene in most societies.  

According to Mayya, the fair, which includes a big number of diverse publications that satisfy people's cultural taste, encourages adopting reading as a cultural behavior to enrich knowledge.

On the obstacles facing the process of booth distributing and reading books, The Fair's organizer Hassan Younis said reactivating reading needs effective contribution by concerned cultural parties, which, according to him, have not so far able to take a tangible step to promote reading.

Younis pointed out that modern literary production doesn't receive the moral and financial revenues it deserves. Besides, shedding light on the books and writers has been subjugated to several considerations which may not necessarily include invention.

"These are among the problems which led many authors to abandon writing, thereby causing a setback to the Arab book and a push forward to translations," Younis added.

Ranim Haydar, a university student,  said she always visits book fairs held regularly in the governorate so as to keep in touch with the most important and up-to date publications.

She added that most fairs offer discounts to encourage buying books, pointing out that she is mostly interested in the books which deal with bio energy and self-skill development.


H. Mustafa   

"Art and Invention" honored at Damascus Citadel

Wonderful oil paintings of seventeen plastic artists belonging to different artistic schools decorated the walls of Damascus Citadel within the framework of the two-week  "Art and Invention" Forum, which was concluded yesterday.

The paintings, which resisted blackness by the using of bright colors, depicted life, beauty, love, history andthe homeland.

Artists Nazir Ismael, ShafeekIshti, Anwar al-Rahbi, Mohammad al-Wahibi, Abdalla Abu Asali, MowaffakMakhoul, Nabil al-Samman, George Miro, Sawsan al-Zou'bi, Ibrahimal-Hameed, FawazSalama, AhdRajjoub, Naser al-Sha'al, JumanaJabr, QahtanTalla', HaskouHaskou and FouadDahdouh took part in the forum, which was held in cooperation between the Directorate of Fine Arts of the Culture Ministry and the Applied Arts Institute.

The Culture Ministry held a ceremony on Monday to honor the participants in the forum in a bid to support the artists and urge them to give their best.

LubanaMushaweh, the Minister of Culture, said during the ceremony that that the exhibited panels reflected the fact that the Syrian artists are deeply-rooted in their homeland and they feel pain and bitterness for the tragic events in Syria.

The minister promised that the artistic works will be exhibited at the Modern Art Museum,which the ministry plans to open soon to host plastic artists' masterpieces.

According,ImadKashout, Director of the Fine Arts Directorate, the forum aimed at establishing dialogue and interaction between the artists and the people to enhance the artistic taste, particularly because the participants have distinguishedimprints at the Syrian and international artistic arenas.

He pointed out that the directorate intends to hold other activities dealing with different areas of art in a number of Syrian governorate in order to allow all creative persons to contribute to enhancing the plastic art movement so as to keep its brightness and to maintain the Syrian art as an eternal beacon to the world.

In a  statement on behalf of the participating artists, Nabil al-Sammanhighlighted the artists hope that Syria will surpass the current painful era.

"During the hard times, when Takfiris and narrow-minded people seek destruction, things will have different meanings and light becomes brighter," al-Samman said, stressing that Syria's future will be to those honest people who kept patient and tolerated pain, so as their homeland be safe.

Artists Anwar al-Rahbi hailed the Culture Ministry's keenness to hold such important forums which brings together different artistic experiences within a harmonic work.

For his part, AhdRajjoub, whose one-color mural attracted many visitors, said he abandoned colors in his panel as it depicted the tragedy, which the Syrians are living and which victimized hope-loving people.

Other artists affirmed the importance of the forum in presenting the artists' views on the current situation in the country,  in shedding light on the many sides of beauty and in highlighting the Syrian artists' determination to challenge the difficult circumstances.

H. Mustafa

Syrian-Lebanese Cooperation to Restore Stolen Antiquities to Syria

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums (GDAM) and the Lebanese Antiquities Establishment have agreed to officially restore stolen Syrian archeological pieces which were recently seized in Lebanon to Syria.

Ma'moun Abdul Karim, the GDAM's Director said in a statement to SANA on Saturday that the Lebanese authorities have foiled an attempt by thieves to sell stolen Syrian archeological pieces, including 11 half statues from the Roman age stolen from Palmyra graves, Roman age glass works and Islamic sculpts in addition to other valuable pieces .

Thieves were arrested by the Lebanese security forces on Thursday, according to SANA.

Abdul Karim pointed out that these pieces were put for sale by the thieves in an area near Beirut.  

A British "Sunday Times" reporter had impersonated a trader of antiquities and got information about the existence of these stolen Syrian pieces of antiquities in Lebanon. She informed the Interpol,  which in turn supplied the GDAM with some data about and photos of the antiquities. As a result, the GDAM asked the Lebanese authorities to seize these pieces.

Abdul Karim pointed out that by arresting members of the thieves network, the archeological pieces have become at the disposal of the Lebanese authorities. A group of Lebanese archeological experts have examined the pieces and assured the GDAM that they are the same pieces which were stolen from Syria.

Abdul Karim thanked the Lebanese concerned bodies for their efforts to combat illicit trafficking of Syrian antiquities and to help Syria restore its archeological heritage.

H. Mustafa 

“Protecting Our Cultural Heritage Against Illicit Trafficking, a National Duty: Mushaweh

“Our great cultural heritage is currently, more than ever, being exposed to a serious threat that endangers our national identity, Culture Minister Lubana Mushaweh has said, stressing that “it is our national and humanitarian duty to protect this heritage against stealing, smuggling and illicit trafficking.

Mushaweh was speaking during a workshop held on Sunday by the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums (GDAM) at Damascus National Museum to tackle the issue of illicit trafficking of cultural properties.

The workshop, which was held under the patronage of the Culture Ministry, aimed to discuss ways of fighting illicit trafficking of antiquities, building abilities and enhancing awareness about preserving cultural properties from threats.

The historical and cultural importance of smuggled Syrian antiquities, the effectiveness of the local and international laws, which control illicit trafficking of antiquities, under the current international developments, besides the role of the Syrian government in disseminating awareness about preserving the country’s national heritage and antiquities are the main topics listed on the workshop’s agenda.

According to minister Mushaweh, the workshop, which is being held under the critical circumstances Syria is passing through, comes within the framework of the ministry’s cooperation with concerned government bodies to put an end to the danger threatening Syrian antiquities.

She pointed out that the great efforts being exerted by the archaeological institutions can’t stand alone in the face the vicious aggression and dangerous violations targeting the Syrian antiquities and archeological sites.

“Unjust excavations in some Syrian archeological sites left more than 300 holes that led to the destruction of some archeological buildings dating back to the Hellenistic age in the 3rd century BC,” Mushaweh said, stressing that these aggressions necessitate from concerned parties to unify efforts to alleviate losses and avoid more serious aggressions.

“The Syrian cultural heritage is a source of pride to all humanity, said the minister, stressing that the international community must shoulder the responsibility towards supporting Syrian archeological institutions to help them face the barbaric aggression against this heritage.

Concluding her statement, the minister thanked the archeologists and researchers who back the ministry’s effort to combat the illicit trafficking of the Syrian antiquities and who spare no effort at international scientific forums to disseminate awareness about the reality of events in Syria and uncover the conspiracy which targets the Syrian cultural heritage.

Director of the GDAM Maamoun Abdul Karim said that stealing and smuggling antiquities is an old problem which threatens Syria’s unique heritage, pointing out that Syria has lost a precious part of its heritage as traders and smugglers of cultural properties were active during the past few decades in violating cultural and archeological places in the country.

He added Syria was among the first countries which were keen to enhance international cooperation to combat illicit trafficking of human and cultural heritage and to protect cultural properties in armed conflicts.

Experts participating in the workshop highlighted the GDAM’s experience in preserving Syria’s diverse cultural heritage and called for drawing up an integrated national strategy in coordination with government parties, civil society organizations and individuals in order to protect Syria’s cultural heritage which was accumulated over long ages.

H. Mustafa

Iranian Film Depicts Syrians' Terrorism-caused Suffering

In his new film, "Behind the Clouds", Iranian film director Hassan Karbakhsh is due to depict the suffering of the Syrian people as a result of the crimes being perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups in Syria.

Karbakhsh said in a statement on Monday that the Arabic-speaking film deals with the crisis in Syria and focuses on the Syrian people's determination to defend their homeland and confront the Jihadist thinking of the takfirists and the salafists.

Karbakhsh wrote the story of the film himself, but a Syrian scenarist will rewrite it to be so close to the reality of events in the country.

According to the Iranian film maker, "Behind the Clouds" tells the story of a doctor, whose father is a famous trader and who is kidnapped during the latest events in Syria.

He pointed out that filming will be done in safe Syrian areas.

H. Mustafa