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SYRIA, BEFORE THE STORM, THROUGH THE EYES OF AUTHOR NIHAD SIREES

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/rev-before-the-storm/story-fn9n8gph-1226732217400#sthash.liHEXgO7.dpuf

The Australian October 05, 2013

SYRIA, BEFORE THE STORM, THROUGH THE EYES OF AUTHOR NIHAD SIREES

by Geordie Williamson

Nihad Sirees wrote a far-sighted allegory of his native Syria in 2004. Its newly published English translation could not be more timely.

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porträt Nihad Siris, by Susanne Schanda

porträt Nihad Siris, by Susanne Schanda

www.faust-cultur.de

Seit anderthalb Jahren ist der syrische Schriftsteller Nihad Siris heimatlos. Der Krieg hat ihn aus seinem Land vertrieben. Dies ist umso dramatischer, als der 1950 in Aleppo geborene Autor stets eng mit seiner Heimatstadt verbunden war. In der Altstadt Aleppos spielte bereits seine Fernsehserie “Khan al-Harir” (Der Seidenmarkt), die im lokalen Dialekt gesprochen ist und den Schriftsteller in den 1990er-Jahren beim arabischen Publikum weit über die Landesgrenzen hinaus bekannt machte. Der internationale Durchbruch begann 2008 mit der deutschen Übersetzung seines satirisch-politischen Romans “As-Samt was-Sachab” (“Das Schweigen und das Gebrüll”) unter dem Titel “Ali Hassans Intrige” im Lenos Verlag. Inzwischen ist der Roman auch ins Französische und Englische übersetzt und mit dem englischen PEN-Preis und dem Coburger Rückert-Preis ausgezeichnet worden. Wer diesen Roman heute zur Hand nimmt, wundert sich, dass er überhaupt erscheinen konnte. Es ist eine bissige Satire auf den Führerkult in einer Diktatur, die unschwer als die syrische zu erkennen ist. Im Libanon publiziert, konnte das Buch in Syrien nur illegal verteilt werden.

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No solace in silence for Syrians, then and now

No solace in silence for Syrians, then and now

By Kaelen Wilson-Goldie - The Daily Star

BEIRUT: During a performance in May at the Hamra Street theater Masrah al-Madina, five excruciating minutes passed as half a dozen members of the Belgian dance company Damaged Goods tied themselves into a human knot and rolled slowly, awkwardly from one corner of the stage to another. Legs extended and contracted. Arms groped, strained and embraced. Taking a diagonal path, the dancers repeatedly picked up and stuffed various props into the strange, solid mass that was constantly being created by the densely packed proximity of their lithe, entangled bodies.

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Words Of An Exile: An Exclusive Interview With A Displaced Syrian Novelist

http://www.worldcrunch.com/mobile/#a:12993

by Angélique Mounier-Kuhn
LE TEMPS/Worldcrunch

Nihad Sirees: "We knew there would be a price to pay for democracy. But no one imagined it would cost so much."

BERN — “Should we work now or after dinner?” Nihad Sirees was taking this meeting very seriously. Punctual, and with a welcoming handshake and smile, he sat down at Jack’s Brasserie, the Schweizerhof Hotel’s restaurant in Bern.

This is the Syrian novelist’s first Swiss interview. He splits his time between Cairo, the United States and Europe since leaving his hometown of Aleppo in early 2012. After a quick look at the menu, he decides to have the daily special and a glass of wine, which he enjoys even if he does “not know anything about it.”

Let’s be clear: As sophisticated as it may be, Jack’s cuisine will not be essential to this meeting. The imperceptible comings and goings of the serious waiters allow us to converse without interruption. But how naïve was it to think that we could calmly discuss the situation in Syria here, in the middle of all these muffled voices. Enjoying our starters while discussing people losing their jobs, houses being destroyed and loved ones dying? Rejoicing in fresh scallops as we evaluate Bashar al-Assad’s mental health? Questioning the country’s future over chocolate-vanilla ice cream deserts? Impossible. Anyway, Nihad Sirees “really” misses the Syrian gastronomy, especially the stuffed eggplant that his mother cooks with an almost “professional” talent.

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NY Times "A Song of Lament for Syria" by Nihad Sirees

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/opinion/a-writers-lament-for-the-female-musicians-of-aleppo-syria.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&

MY grandfather had one question for the young man who asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage: “Do you like music?” His daughter — my mother — had a beautiful voice, and he would never accept a son-in-law who would stop her from singing. Luckily, my father answered correctly. When I was a boy, my mother used to sing herself to sleep. Nowadays she falls asleep to the thuds of cannons and the whizzing of bullets.