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Wednesday, November 23

When You Grow Up

My son sits at the edge of my bed
and asks me to recite a poem,
A tear falls from my eyes onto the pillow.
My son licks it up, astonished, saying:
"But this is a tear, father, not a poem!"
And I tell him:
"When you grow up, my son,
and read the diwan of Arabic poetry
you'll discover that the word and the tear are twins
and the Arabic poem
is no more than a tear wept by writing fingers."

My son lays down his pens, his crayon box in
front of me
and asks me to draw a homeland for him.
The brush trembles in my hands
and I sink, weeping.

Taken from "A Lesson In Drawing" by Nizar Qabbani.


Thursday, November 17

Bayt al-‘Aqqad

The house has been built on the ruins of Herod the Great’s theater from the 1st century B.C. a substantial remains of Roman walls appeared embedded in the mud walls of the ‘Aqqad-house.
After the Mongol destruction of Damascus in 1400-1401 it took long time for the city to recover. But especially during the reign of Mumluks a number of impressive buildings were erected, some of them in the immediate neighborhood of the ‘Aqqad-house. There are reasons to believe that essential parts of the qa’a and the iwan are fragments of a monumental Mamluk building, possibly a palace, from this period (late 15th century). It is interesting in this context that many shreds of glazed Syrians, Persian and Chinese pottery form the 13th – 15th century were found at the house during the restoration.
there is no evidence of building activities at the ‘Aqqad-house during the 16th and 17th centuries. But during the 2nd half of the 18th century a building is added at the North-eastern corner of the courtyard is laid, the Mamluk qa’a is renovated (an inscription in the qa’a gives the date 1754/55), a new courtyard is laid out, and several rooms are embellished with painted wall-panels and ceilings. the painting of two of theses rooms are dated by inscriptions to 1763/64.
The owner of ‘Aqqad-house in the 18th century are not known. By the middle of the 19th century the house was owned by the ‘Aqqad family, who redecorated some of the rooms like the “blue room” which is a fine example of the

so-called Turkish Rococo style appearing for the first time in Syria in the 1840s.
During the first half of the 10th century the house was still inhabited by members of the Aqqad family, later it was used by the Zainab Fawaz School. However during the last twenty years of the century most of the house was left empty and quicky decayed.
On June 19,1997 a Lease Restoration Agreement was signed in Damascus between the Ministry of Culture, and the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (Syria), and the Ministry of Education and the Danish Institute in Damascus (Denmark). In the agreement, the rules for the expropriations and restoration of the house in the Old City of Damascus, as well as the future lease and use of the house by the Danish institute were laid out. The Danish Institute was officially inaugurated in November 2000.

Aqqad-house/ The Danish Institute in Damascus is situated in Souq al-Souf near Souq Madhat Pasha.

Source: The Danish Institute in Damascus.


Sunday, November 6


Spending Al-Eid vacation in the western sides of Syria, made me discover more about the beauty of the Syrian nature, we passed through paradise-like places, it was amazing trip, but unfortunately I didn’t have chance to take photos! Anyways, I’ll leave you with these poor photos I could get from inside the car.


Wednesday, November 2

Colors Of Eid

My memory goes back to the day anticipating Eid El-Futer (The feast after the holy month of Ramadan and long days of fasting, it lasts three days and it’s also called “the small Eid”), awaiting to hear the cannon shots (It doesn’t count a lot but just a traditional habit) announcing and confirming that it had come, then we start singing repeatedly, loudly and happily:

“ Bokra el-Eid oo min ayed… Mindbah baqaret el sayeid… oo sayeid ma ando baqara… Mindbah marto hal shaqra”

“ The feast is tomorrow and we are going to celebrate, we are going to slaughter the lord’s cow, but the lord doesn’t has any cow, so we are going to slaughter his blond wife”

*Yeah I know it sounds terrorist song, but it was just a meaningless song chanted by an innocent children. I don’t know if children still know it now!

As we go to sleep early, the night goes long, dreaming of the next day joy; to put on our new clothes and shoes, then gently to approach mother and father to kiss their hands and touch it to our forehead whishing them a happy Eid while impatiently eager to get our gifts and “Eidyieh” a big amount of money, and to go to play outside all the day with swings and other games. Our utmost joy was to play with the forbidden fire-works and fire-crackers! It was sweet days, eh is2allah. (talking like old peoples ;-p)

Kil sineh oo entoo salmeen:-)