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Damascene magazine steals work from a Syrian blog

August 27th, 2005 · 14 Comments · Uncategorized

Layalina magazine has cut and pasted an entire blog post – its words and photograph – without giving credit to its author, one of Syria’s most important bloggers, Ayman.

Ayman’s Damascene Blog is one of the most widely read and oldest blogs written in Syria. He posts a daily photo from his city, and the story behind it. In January he posted a photo from a wedding he attended, along with a traditional Syrian wedding chant.

And this month, Layalina has shamelessly stole the entire post – even the photograph.

Layalina is a pseudo-celebrity gossip photo rag published in Lebanon. It started out on the Beiruti nightlife scene and then spread to Damascus a few years ago. It’s light on words, and filled cover-to-cover with photographs. Each month Layalina’s photographers go to every party, concert, event, meeting, any place in fact, where Damascenes might have dressed up and put a bit of make up on. They then take photos of every crowd, and get their names. Those photos go into the magazine, much to the delight of some Damascenes who seem to rate their popularity on how often they get into Layalina.

I take pride in how rarely I make it into Layalina.

The interesting thing is the price. Layalina sells for about $15. That’s an incredible price in a country who’s average magazine costs less than half a dollar. What price fame?


14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anonymous // Aug 28, 2005 at 1.33 am

    Sasa maybe you are not ‘elite’ and ‘exclusive’ enough from the Syrian and Damascene clique to be in this Levantine parody of Hello/OK magazine!
    I can’t imagine ordinary Syrians and Lebanese being featured in this ‘magazine’ only the wealthy and elite ‘beautiful people’ of As-Shaam!

    Of course apologies to you in advance if you are rich, beautiful and elite background and it is a credit to you that you buck the trend!

  • 2 Anonymous // Aug 28, 2005 at 1.39 am

    Just to clarify the issue and avoid misunderstandings I did NOT want to imply that ordinary Syrian & Lebanese people are NOT beautiful.
    I think it is quite well known that the Shaami people are handsome and beautiful.

  • 3 Anonymous // Aug 28, 2005 at 4.13 am

    How can ordenary syrians and lebanese afford the price that is nore than most magazines cost in the USA.

  • 4 Ihsan // Aug 28, 2005 at 8.11 am

    I don’t know about the English version of Layalina, but the Arabic one, that I bought once, was for around 3 USD!

    Maybe the English one is more expensive cuz the targeted audience is the foreigners and diplomats in town.

  • 5 Pan-Arabist // Aug 28, 2005 at 5.12 pm

    This is a shame.

    I support your blog and I wonder if I may suggest to you my own blog, the Arabist:

  • 6 Anonymous // Aug 28, 2005 at 10.37 pm

    sasa,please explain the diffrence between panarabism and arabnationalism as many people do not know the diffrence,that enlited me,thank you.naim

  • 7 sasa // Aug 28, 2005 at 10.51 pm

    Hi Naim,

    Thanks for your question, and thanks for all your comments and for supporting this blog. I really appreciate it.

    To everyone else, I’ve just posted the following in the comments section of the very interesting new ‘Arabist Blog’ (

    ” I’d like to disagree that Pan-Arabism is the same as Arab nationalism. I am a Pan-Arabist in the sense that I want unity across the Arab world. I am not a nationalist in the sense that I want to exlcude non-Arabs from our unity.

    It is similar to being a Pan-European without being a nationalist.

    Nationalism is by its definition exclusive. And exclusivity is a neighbour of racism. “

  • 8 newc // Aug 29, 2005 at 4.46 am

    God wants a free middle east.

    How long do we have to wait for that revelation?

  • 9 Ayman // Aug 30, 2005 at 12.40 am

    Sasa, thanks a lot for highlighting this :) I will email the magazine and see how they will respond…

  • 10 Anonymous // Aug 30, 2005 at 5.33 am

    Sasa ,I was thinking about what you said about arab nationalism and nation as they are one race ,in the united state they call themselves american nation and they are of maney races and ethnic backround mexican american arab american blak white chinese ,all consederd american and they belong to multiethnic multiculture multiracial american nation the arab nation are the people ,all the people who live in the arab wourld,sharkas kurds aramiacs pheonecians asserians koptics and all the other ethnic group they are equal with same rights and obligations,Naim

  • 11 Pan-Arabist // Sep 2, 2005 at 1.25 am

    Here is my post on the matter. Also, read the comments section:

  • 12 sasa // Sep 2, 2005 at 1.32 am

    Thanks for your detailed reply and comments. It is a very interesting discussion.

  • 13 Anonymous // Sep 4, 2005 at 5.24 am

    I see the arab world simaler to the US more than to EU as in the US as in the arab world speak one languege yes some speak other langueges but their official languege is arabic most the population in each country and i stress country no nation as the west like to call the arab nations,there is no arab nations but one arab nation in different countrie like there is one american nation in differnt states,if the arab learn from the american experience and model they will have good chance of having one arab nation composed of many states where every person live in these states with equal right and obligaton no matter what their eligin or ethnic backround is with freedom of movment to where he can find a job and freedom to live any place as will be no areas for the kurds and areas for the allawat and other areas for the sunni,with protection under the law from dicemination in housing and employment and requiring people to regester to vote where they live not where they come from, that divercify the pupulation into the real distribution of people where in every town and city ,sometimes in every street there are people from different backround that will make it difficult to break any arab state into different parts as they are doing in iraq,the federal goverment of the united states of arabia so each state will have it,s own governer and elected goverment ,to do that each state will have a senet with 2 seneters elected from each county or muhafaza and house elected by giving one represenative to each 100,000 people as an example the senate will assure that small counyies have a fair say in making laws while the house will assure that highly populated areas have fair reresetaion and all laws will need to pass in both houses so they need to work together,simmiler system could aplied to federal goverment prsedent elected by all the people simmiler to the US system and two houses senate with 2 seneters from each state and house with represintive depending on the population one small word about implementing democracy,in the US the children learn about the obligation of their city goverment ,state goverment and federal goverment they have popularity contests at school which teach them to axcept failiur without trying to win by force so democrecy should step by step,but should fast moving step so people will not lose faith in their goverment intention,Naim

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