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Samar Yazbek

Now, This is not Damascus Anymore

[Damascus at Night. Image from Unknown Archive]

[This is the first part of a series of vignettes. It was published in Arabic in al-Hayat, July 18, 2011 and was translated by Suneela Mubayi] April 10, 2011  This is Damascus. The phrase that we were used to hearing as children on the radio. All Syrians recognize the tone of this phrase: of course, this is Damascus. After Damascus was transformed from a city to a capital, and Syrians migrated from their small towns, villages and campsites, it became an in-between ...

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A Damascene Diary

[A Sign Held by a Syrian Protester

This account of events in Damascus, Syria, on Friday April 1st 2011 was originally published in Al Quds al ‘Arabi on April 7th, 2011. *** I will infiltrate the dreams of the killers. I will ask them: did you look into their eyes when your bullets closed in on their chests? Did you glimpse the hole of life? Before Damascus’ sky darkens, why don’t you look at the smooth red circles around their foreheads and stomachs, where our eyes will come to rest? Here in Damascus, the ...

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Waiting for Death: I Will Not Carry Flowers to my Grave

[Protesters near the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. Image from AP]

It’s not true that, when Death comes, it will have your eyes! And it’s not at all true that the desire for love resembles the desire for death. It’s not the same moment - maybe those desires are similar in nothingness because both are swimming in dissipation. In love, we merge with the other. In death, we merge with existence and transform from the tangible, the material into an idea. Humans’ ideas have always been nobler than their existence. Otherwise, what’s the meaning ...

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Samar Yazbek


Samar Yazbek is a Syrian writer. Her latest novel is Maraya Laha (Mirrors for Her), published by Dar al-Adab in 2010.