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Mosteghanemi’s Black Suits You: A True Love Betrayed by Contradictions

“Alasawd Yaliko Beki” or “Black Suits You” is a term chosen by the heroine of Ahlam Mosteghanemi’s new novel to conceal deep sadness on the demise of father and brother who were victims of terrorism. Very soon, our heroine Hala, was captured by the incantation of love at the hands of a rich man while she was fleeing her sadness from teaching class to music and celebrity.

A “Love Story” whose secret lies in the fact that Mosteghanemi started from the end lamenting a great broken love of a couple who didn’t meet by accident, rather by Talal, the lover hero, persistence in pursuing Hala and surround her life with dark violet tulip flowers matching her sadness.

He succeeded is capturing her attention though she was greatly committed to work to withstand the pains of losing her father and brother and even the homeland after she had chosen to leave Algeria to Syria  -her mother’s country- where she thinks she finds hope and safety.

As in all her literary works, Mosteghanemi novel is abundant with warms words and expressions that reveal the components of the soul and the skill to have her sentences enriched by saying of renowned men of letters, revealing a refine culture which yet couldn’t protect her novel from “setbacks”.

Between the lines a striking love ended in separation of lovers, Mosteghanemi put expressed her political position regarding terrorists and how the Algerian government reacted to them, but she thought she was neutral.

However, she was trapped by the mess of contradictions; once she was against terrorists who targeted artists, Journalists, a civil servant and even one ever thinks of consider them as Takfiris, and again she sympathized with them over being tortured by the Algerian Army.

However, a reader of Mosteghanemi’s novel will soon realize that most of her heroes are victims of the Takfiri mentality!


Ibrahim Zaaboub

What Remains For You

Many Palestinian writers have resorted to documenting the tragedy of their people caused by their displacement out of their indigenous homeland.  Most novels written by Palestinian writers were adapted to feature films recording the Palestinian suffering and struggle to restore their inalienable rights to self-determination and the return of their usurped rights including the establishment of their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and the return of the Palestinian refugees to their indigenous homeland.

Ghassan Kanafani was one of the most prominent writers who were able to record the Palestine question from different perspectives casting light on two main issues: the tragedy of the Palestinians in Diaspora and their difficult life in camps, and the adherence of the Palestinians to their land and their readiness to offer sacrifices for their homeland.

“Men in the Sun”, Kanafani’s first novel adapted to a feature film, was an achievement of the drive to separate the literature of the resistance from straightforward realism, employing symbolism and intellectually forging the structure in the attempt to present the Palestine question outside the usual context.

It was followed by “What Remains for You” which deals with the story of Hamed and his sister Mariam who exchanged views about their pain in a shimmering desert and their feeling of estrangement far from their homeland. It is considered one of the earliest and most successful modernist experiments in Arabic fiction. Kanafani used multiple narrators – two of them, the clock and the desert, were inanimate. Hamed dreams of being reunited with his mother from whom he was separated in 1948.  Hamed had fled to Gaza while his mother left for the West Bank. He tries to find her but becomes lost in the desert, crossing paths with an Israeli soldier. He is forced to avoid his original plan and turn to confront his enemy. Although he dies before locating his mother, he is in death reunited with his lost land. The thematic development reflects the change in political climate, and the initiation of the Palestinian armed struggle in the mid 1960s through the creation of Palestinian resistance movements.

Born in 1936 and died in 1972, Ghassan Kanafani was among the first Palestinian writers who mixed literature and politics creating a new literary genre called resistance literature. Born in Acre, Kanafani received a French missionary school education in Java, leaving for Lebanon to settle later in Syria, then Kuwait, following the war of 1948 and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their indigenous Homeland.

Kanafani was assassinated on July 8, 1972, by a car bomb planted by Israeli agents. The explosion also killed his little niece.

Most Arab writers, who knew Ghassan, unanimously agreed that the Israeli occupation authorities were infuriated by his writings which had the same effect as the weapons directed to the Israeli army. Despite the elapse of forty years after his death, Ghassan’s novels and stories are still the torchlight guiding Palestinians to press ahead with their struggle until the achievement of their noble goals.

Kanafani was posthumously awarded the Lotus Prize for Literature by the Conference of Afro-Asian Writers. By the time of his death, he had published eighteen books, and left fragments of three novels that were published posthumously by his family and friends.

In fact Ghassan, along with other Palestinian writers such as Abdel Karim al-Karmi, Mohmoud Darwish and Tawfiq Zayyad, were the initiators of a new literary genre, namely the resistance literature which has been a sharp weapon that upset Israeli occupation authorities and pushed them to assassinate Palestinian writers and poets, because their writings are truthful expression of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians to self determination and liberation.


National Symphony Orchestra Plays "For Warm Winter" to Help Terrorism Victims

DAMASCUS, (ST)- "For Warm Winter" was the title of the musical evening performed yesterday by the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra at the Opera House in Damascus.

The evening, which was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture, had a humanitarian social goal which is to provide some sort of assistance to victims of armed terrorist groups through an initiative by the Orchestra's own members, who have decided to replace the admission card with clothes and blankets to be collected in baskets from the audience upon entering the theatre. The baskets are to be distributed to makeshift sheltering centers where displaced families stay after terrorists attacked their areas.

The Symphony Orchestra played musical pieces from Tchaikovsky's Opera "Yevgeny Onegin" and from the masterpieces of musicians Edward Greg and Johannes Brahms.
The performance received great interaction by the audience, particularly because some of the chosen pieces touch the suffering the Syrians are experiencing and some other rise feelings of hope and happiness.

Maestro "Misak Baghbodrian" said "members of the orchestra wanted to share with the people of our homeland the critical circumstances they are passing through by collecting donations that may help the displaced and alleviate winter hardships after they had left their houses fleeing the criminal acts of the terrorists."

 He pointed out that the orchestra has decided to continue holding "For Warm Winter" series of musical evenings to further contribute to alleviating some of the suffering of our fellow citizens," hoping that the experience will be repeated in all the Syrian governorate.   

The National Symphony Orchestra was established in 1993 and now, it comprises more than 80 players. 


H. Mustafa        

Workshop on Protection of Cultural Heritage

DAMASCUS, (ST) - In cooperation with the International Scientific Committee to Prepare for Dangers affiliated to ICMOS organization, the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums yesterday  afternoon held an online workshop on the protection of cultural heritage in times of crisis. The event took place in the Damascene Hall of the National Museum of Damascus.
A group of experts representing ICMOS and ICCROM organizations, by online, delivered  lectures addressed to the Managers of Antiquities in the governorates and all concerned bodies with the protection of the Syrian cultural heritage.
In a statement to SANA , General Director of Antiquities and Museums, Dr. Mamoun Abdul Karim said: " This two-day workshop, which includes lectures focused on raising the capacity of Syrian experts in management and response to the effects of the different conflict in their positions and provide them with basic information on disaster management and response to emergency situations as well as setting up a network to repair the damaged heritage.

"This workshop was under the supervision of UNESCO and advisory organizations specialized in the protection of museums and archaeological sites," Abdul Karim said.

"The workshop was held with the participation of 200 specialists from the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums and the University of Damascus in order to listen to the procedures followed globally to protect archaeological sites during crises. 

Dr. Abdul Karim said that his directorate adopted a number of measures to protect museums and communicate with international companies to acquaint with new measures in the domain of ensuring necessary protection for these pieces.
The workshop is a first step in the framework of an integrated program of cooperation between the Directorate of Antiquities and the ICMOS organization to protect Syrian cultural heritage including gathering information on the damaged cultural heritage and forming an entrance to the exchange of technical information.

 Sh. Kh

Syrian Drama wins gold at Arab Radio and TV Festival

TUNIS, (ST) - The Syrian drama has won tow golden awards at the Arab Radio and TV Festival recently concluded in Tunisia.

"Tale' al-Fiddah" written by actor Abbas al-Nouri and directed by Seif Eddin Sbe'i won the top award of  Historical TV Series, while  the golden award of Social and Comedian TV series went to "Raffet Ein" by scenarist, actress and director Amal Arafa.

"Tale' al-Fiddah" depicted the history of Damascus at the beginning of the 20 century and tackled the early beginnings of the Arab Revolution and the end of the Ottoman State. It also focused on the deeply-rooted wonderful state of coexistence among religions in Syria.

In Raffet Ein, Amal Arafa depicted the life of the marginalized and downtrodden people who keep struggling to rid themselves from misery, but unluckily their fates foil them as they experience harsher circumstances.

The festival was organized by the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) in cooperation with the Tunisian Radio and Television Association between December 23 and 27.

It covered a number of events including programs production market, media specialized seminars and the festival contest, as well as honoring a number of media and artistic figures on the occasion of declaring 2012 the year of Arab Radios. 

H. Moustafa