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Film Review: London River

October 23rd, 2009 · 1 Comment · Culture

“This place is absolutely crawling with Muslims”. Rachid Bouchareb follows up his influential tale of France’s hidden Algerian war veterans with a story about London after the July 2005 bombings. It is essentially a culture-clash story – London as seen from the eyes of a foreigner. Bouchareb – himself not from London – uses two […]

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The best article on Syria in a decade

October 22nd, 2009 · 11 Comments · Politics

It’s that good. Seriously. I had my doubts – especially with the Mafia intro, and with the following paragraph, but this pot of gold is worth digging into, despite the mud obscuring the top. [Syria is] a place where you can dine out with friends at a trendy café, and then, while waiting for a […]

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Palestinian film review: The Time That Remains

October 20th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Culture

Comedy in tragedy. Elia Suleiman’s story of a Palestinian family – from the 1948 nakba to the outbreak of the second intifada has just premiered in London’s Leicester Square to an audience of hundreds. Resembling a beautifully shot BBC period drama, The Time That Remains starts with Nazareth’s Israeli-imposed surrender. The Suleiman family is torn […]

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Syria and the West – and the controversy I’m not allowed to talk about

October 16th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Politics

Syria’s Ambassador to London has been speaking at the International Institute of Strategic Studies. But what is interesting about this meeting is what I’m not allowed to write. There was an intra-Arab disagreement in the question and answer session. One which made my blood boil. But that part of the meeting was off the record. […]

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Rest in Peace Bedounia

October 14th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Culture

The writer of the Dove’s Eye View blog has died. Leila Abu Saba, aka Bedouina, blogged here. There is nothing I can add to this tribute. Rest in peace Bedouina.

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The Jews of Syria

October 13th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Culture

Three excellent articles in this month’s Forward Magazine on Syria’s Jews, past and present. Julian Weinberg talks to some of the Jews living in the Old City of Damascus: Faisal had grown up in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Damascus after his family was forced to leave Safad near Tiberius in 1948.  […]

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Syria hosts a fashion show – shock

October 12th, 2009 · No Comments · Culture

There has been amazement in the international press as Syria hosts its first ever fashion show. Proof, it is claimed, that the country is trying to open up, and break its pariah status. Or not. Zeina Karam – an Associated Press writer who was penned many well written, less contentious pieces about Syria – has […]

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The Arab World’s greatest female novelist

October 8th, 2009 · No Comments · Culture

Hanan Al-Shaykh, the woman often called the Arab World’s greatest female novelist, has been talking about her life, and her latest book, The Locust and the Bird. The Lebanese writer was in conversation at Bloomsbury Books in London, where she now lives. Much of her work revolves around her adopted city. And it was one […]

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Photography in Aleppo

October 6th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Culture

As part of the British Council’s ongoing 75th birthday celebrations, a series of photography events are taking place in Aleppo. There will be a lecture by the Senior Curator of Photography at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The V&A is one of London’s most prestigious museums. It was also the museum which donated some pieces for […]

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Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Syria

October 3rd, 2009 · 9 Comments · Culture

Angelina Jolie has made another surprise visit to Syria – raising awareness about the Iraqi refugee problem. This is her second visit, and this time she was accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt. Jolie is a UN goodwill ambassador, and she was in Syria to visit a few of the million Iraqi refugees. She urged […]

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