Meet the Syrian novelist who refuses to leave home

Published April 12th, 2016 - 11:05 GMT
Civilians examine the bombed-out remains of a house in Aleppo, Syria following airstrikes in December 2015.  (AFP/Karam al-Masri)
Civilians examine the bombed-out remains of a house in Aleppo, Syria following airstrikes in December 2015. (AFP/Karam al-Masri)

Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa: 'I have always wondered about the ability of some writers to remain silent'

I have always wondered about the ability of some writers to remain silent while the body parts of their own people are strewn about: murdered or drowned, refugees or prisoners; when a regime destroys a country and kills civilians, with impunity and for its own survival. This silence is disgrace itself, and it will follow those writers as much as those who justify crimes in any name whatsoever. This is what happened in the Syrian case. I have thought a lot about those writers, revisited their personal and professional archives, and was appalled when I realized they have always been silent and have had long-lived partnerships with the regime. I felt ashamed about our own silence against their behavior and their justification of all this bloodshed even before it actually happened.

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Total recall 

What are Hezbollah’s objectives in maintaining a vacuum in the presidency? This question has preoccupied analysts for almost two years now, but none of the answers are entirely convincing.

The first is that the party is seeking leverage to fundamentally transform the Lebanese political and constitutional system. Its ultimate aim, the argument goes, is to expand Shiite representation, protect Hezbollah’s weapons and ensure a structural majority that keeps Sunnis at a disadvantage.

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From Jordan to Europe: Syrians awaiting family reunification 

When Syrian men and boys reach the shores of Europe, the first thing they do is call or message their wives and mothers to tell them that they have safely crossed the sea. But for those left behind, this moment is the end of one suspenseful wait and the beginning of yet another.

This time the wait is for a family reunification appointment—an appointment they hope will allow them to join their loved ones in Europe. The experience differs from family to family. For some there is a clear path—a result of good luck in their opinion. But for others, the waiting stretches on indefinitely, until hope for a better future—for which they have risked everything, exhausted savings and in some cases taken on stifling debt—slowly fades away.

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