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Beloved Syria: A magazine considering Syrian perspectives

27 September 20160 comments

A new magazine that gives a voice to the people of Syria through stories, poetry and reflection has launched its first edition in Melbourne.

The editors of Beloved Syria – Considering Syrian Perspectives hope that what can unite Syrians is basically what unites human beings throughout the world: common human values.

Editor Norma Medawar called Syria home before she recently arrived in Australian on a humanitarian visa.

beloved-syriaHer co-editor Susan Dirgham lived in Damascus for two years and taught English at the British Council.

They launched the magazine at the Travellers Bookstore in Fitzroy to an intimate crowd including people from the Syrian community who had also come to Australia on humanitarian visas.

With over 23 million Syrians in the world, and a majority of them still in Syria, a huge range of voices could be presented in the magazine.

It includes interviews with a businessman, a teacher, a journalist and a volunteer working with internally displaced people, all still living in Syria.

It also features interviews with a Syrian teacher now living in Italy, and an engineer now living in Germany.

The contributors present their views on such things as war and lessons learnt, women’s rights, personal freedom and their image of a new Syria.

“A new Syria for me will see the disappearance of hatred and the failure of the plot to destroy it,” says Bahnan, a 59 year old businessman still living in Syria.

“Syria will remain on its feet… and slowly it will be rebuilt because of its fearless people, and many of those who left will turn back to their homes,” Bahnan said.

Photographs that Ms Dirgham took of people she met in Syria before the war feature throughout the magazine.

“I deliberately set out to capture the warmth and energy of the people of Syria,” she said.

“I explained that the ‘world’ knew so little about Syria, and I hoped to present the ‘real’ Syria in my photos.

“I hope the photographs reveal a proud, warm-hearted and sophisticated people, and people with enormous reserves of courage and goodwill.”

The magazine also features highly revered 20th century poet Nizar Qabbani with poetry that explores themes of love, eroticism, feminism, religion, and Arab nationalism.

“Some lovers of Syria have gone so far to as to claim it is the beating heart of the world. At the very least, Syria is a remarkable country and its people extraordinarily courageous,” Ms Dirgham said.

Beloved Syria – Considering Syrian Perspectives can be purchased at the Travellers Bookstore in Fitzroy, or at the Eltham Bookshop in Eltham. It can also be ordered via emailing or visiting their website by clicking here.

Carissa Gilham
AMES Australia Staff Writer