Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Aleppo & the Syrian blogosphere

Just returned from my Aleppo trip, and am currently in Damascus ( for those who emailed and asked about me - my favourite internet cafe there had moved and the one I went to was banning Blogger).

It seems like Aleppo has been elected on 18th March 2006 as the Capital of Islamic Culture.

"In accordance with a resolution of the Islamic Conference Organization,
Aleppo was selected to be the capital of Islamic Culture 1427 H. 2006

The city is obviously proud of this recognition and it was noticeable in the logo ( seen on the left side in this post) stamped on the shop doors and the many posters competing with those of the Head of State and the commercial ads..
Aleppo has been holding since then and plans to hold till the end of 2006 many events to celebrate this nomination, I would say they deserve it ( even though I personally prefer Damascus) …
Examples of activities :

"-Eight scientific international Symposia along the year 2006.
-150 lectures distributed among the platforms of the city and the University.
-Printing more the 100 books about Aleppo and the situation.
-Renovating, rehabilitating and operating number of historical buildings to be used in the celebrations (20) buildings.
-Organizing exhibition for plastic art, photography, manuscripts, documents, costumes, traditional industries, foods and huge fair for books.
-An intensive media activity through:
§ Issuing a magazine specialized of this situation.
§ Daily broadcast programme along the year.
§ Daily T.V. programme to cover the activities directly.
§ Booklets, brochures and articles in newspapers and magazines
public relations activity:
§ Armors, medals, souvenirs, gifts and Appreciation Certificates.
§ Visiting the historical and tourist places.
-Artistic activity through making concerts, performing plays and films presentations in addition to the huge inauguration party on 18/3/2006.
-Competitions for Koran and tradition, memorizers. "
I went to Saad Allah Jabri Square where a huge metal frame balloon is erected like a concert stand and where there are daily fireworks and games at the nearby fair.
This is not my first visit to Aleppo so if you wish to know more about my experiences there click here :) .

Since I’m still in Syria it is logical to try and read the Syrian blogosphere… My initial intention was to get in touch with the bloggers, but I changed my mind after my recent ordeal, I don’t really have all my wits about me and I’ll be a very bad and boring guest. So my regular visits will be to their blogs instead. I hope you would follow me there . Let’s find out a little bit more about Syria through the eyes of some Syrians ...

At the Syrian News Wire, Sarouja gives us his daily analysis beyond politics , vital bits and pieces which are sometimes 'dropped' from the mainstream media. The guy is objective and clear headed both in his handling of Lebanon ( he spends half his time there) and Syria. For example we learn that Palestinian refugees are to come to Syria from Iraq ( as Jordan will not allow them to settle in Jordan ). Also that "UN investigator Serge Brammertz is in Damascus to interview President Bashar Al-Assad.It comes one day after Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora announced that Bashar had personally threatened Rafiq Al-Hariri, but revealed that he wasn't in the room when it happened."

Amarji is a self described heretic , check his thoughts here . Hassan telling us about ADSL in Syria . Soraya who is 'Syrian to the bone' ( oh and she got lovely eyes too check her blogger photo). Nisrin who's being philosophical " just found out yesterday that the sometimes weirdness can create the worst kind of fear, undefined....imagine me, laying in bed, thinking about the not so far fututre, unless less than 6 months is far.about if i'm ever forced into anything, i'd have to become financially independent.iu almost stopped breathing.i mean come on, i'm not even a graduate yet, i'd have to pay rent, bills, house thingies, and me thingies....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh". Niklas a student and his views on wine production in Syria, I cannot corroborate his opinion because I don't drink but someone may be able to tell us if this is true or not "Syria pretends to produce something it likes to call wine (from now on referred to as "wine"). No one else in the world would ever label it that but they do. The quality of it is so bad that it's not even fitting to use it for carpet miscoloring". ODM or one disobedient Mofo as he calls himself is really a fast paced sarcastic guy , a Syrian Sandmonkey of sorts , here is a sample read the rest on his blog "I doubt the cedibility of everybody but I was looking forward for change in Syria. What the fuck happened?". Damascene and her conclusion on the Danish cartoons " knowing each other is UNDERSTANDING, understanding means ACCEPTING each other"; check also what she says about residence visas for Iraqis in Syria. Ayman who is a resident neurologist in the US since last year but likes politics he says "it takes no more than a mouse click for a Muslim to discover that not all Westerners are hateful racists and for a Westerner to discover that not all Muslims are blind violent mobs". Read the Syrian blogosphere condemnation of the demonstrations, 'not in our name' and the events that happened after the Danish Cartoons.

I also learnt that the red Armageddon type of sandstorm that hit Libya in February, reached Syria in April ...check photos here (I know nothing about meteoroligy but it looks just the same to me no ?).

So there is no shortage of information if we really wish to know about another country and culture, the Syrian blogosphere is rich and multilingual.

I'm currently compiling a few more posts about my recent experience in Syria before moving to Jordan again next week. Hope you will enjoy it, and let me know what you think of the above , blogs and all .


NBA said...

A good travel report. Saved one of the blogs I'd never heard about before in my favourites :).

Also, I'm envious of your constant travelling. I'd rather be in Syria right now than where I'm in my real life... As a tourist, I mean ;).


Damascene said...

Highlander, found your blog while searching for photos about Aleppo, thanks for the introduction and have fun in Syria.

Libyan Warrior( The King Of Al-Andalaus) said...

Glad your back, Highlander.
Been doing a lot of traveling as of late I see. Well have fun, and keep safe.

highlander said...

NBA I'm glad you like the 'travel report'. Can we know which blog you saved ;)
I'm still here for a week so you can come over if you wish ..where are you by the way Finland ?

Damascene you are welcome.

Libyanwarrior shukran wa enta keep safe to :)

Soraya said...

Hello there

Well I have to thank you for mentioning my Blog oh and thanks for the eyes thingy ( blushing) too bad u decided not to meet any of the Syrian bloggers, if you have a second thought about it let me know :) have a great stay in Syria in Continue


Highlander said...

Thank you Soraya :) you are welcome and you got mail re. meeting the bloggers thingy .Please reply soon :)

NBA said...

Hahaha, Highlander, is it now the Libyan Intelligence Service trying to track me down with their Syrian colleagues LOL?


NBA said...

Sorry, forgot to add this, it's Soraya's that I saved (hi Soraya!). I have this habit of sometimes saving interesting blogs under my favourites and then reading them at least for some time to find out how they're like. Some become addictive enough to make me follow them regularly for weeks and months. Yours is one of the quite few, Highlander.


Amr T said...

Shame!! you should have visited The city of Homs!!!

just kidding, nice blog though

Highlander said...

Amr Hi :)

I did go to Homs in 2004 , check my archives ...and thank you for visiting ..