“I believe that the task of culture, in all its forms, is aimed at self-discipline. Take music, theater, cinema and singing, for example, and notice how young men and women rushed to attend events even when deadly shells were pounding the city of Damascus.”
Because this generation has lived through historical turns of events, we are both lucky and unlucky at the same time. The outburst of the Arab Spring revolutions and the songs that accompanied them carried the torch from Tunisia to Tahrir Square in Cairo and the squares in Sanaa. Then, we heard the voice of the first Syrian shouting “Long Live Syria, Let Bashar Fall.”
“You shall know them by their bags”—the words of this saying seem to ring true for Syrians, amid today’s economic crisis. Their shopping bags contain a little bit of everything, now that Damascenes have grown used to buying food piece by piece.
Anyone who tries to create some form of art, I suppose, is plagued every now and then with cynicism and pessimism. Especially during periods of collapse. “Why do anything?” we ask ourselves. “What is the point?”
"I was deeply convinced that I left an imprint of my soul on every film I worked on, whether its producer admitted this or not."
My grandmother Sultana used to tell us these stories every time the electricity cut off and we gathered together in the dark. She talked and talked and talked without getting tired of the words. She was afraid that the story would be lost, and we’d be lost with them.
"How do you express the loss of your country, your people, of seeing all this blood? You feel like you’re no longer yourself, that you lost a part of yourself, that you lost your shadow. Magic realism is based on a very realistic and logical question: How can we express all this pain?"
“I don’t think anyone has a statistic or a definitive understanding of who was a photographer in Syria.”
Founded in the wake of the Syrian revolution, Comic4 Syria brought together young Syrian artists hoping to make sense of the violence and everyday brutalities going on in their country.
A giant of Syria’s ‘first wave’ of feminism
“I’m telling just one story, but from many different angles and directions as I’m trying to think about what it means to be Arab American. What is it like to inhabit that identity?”
"My life is full of contradictions: I live the French language in my daily life, in my friendships, with institutions, administrative transactions, shopping, communicating with official bodies. Meanwhile I inhabit the Arabic language while I’m writing, as writing draws on my memory and occupies the greatest portion of my life."
Nimat entered an arranged marriage as a teenager and endured years of sexual abuse. Now in Germany, she’s rebuilding her life and relationship with her body.