Entries by Sami Moubayed

أحمد زويل، وداعاً

في الخمسينيات، عُرض على الطبيب الدمشقي الدكتور فيصل الصبّاغ منصب وزير الصحة في حكومة الرئيس صبري العسلي، فاعتذر قائلاً: “أنا أستاذ جامعي يا صبري بك، أنا ملك مُتوج بين طلابي وكتبي وبحوثي العلمية. أريد أن أخدم من موقعي كأستاذ ولا رغبة لي في استبدال عملي وعلمي بالوزارة والسياسة.” توفي الدكتور فيصل الصبّاغ عام 2005 وقد […]

Sixty years after nationalizing the Suez Canal

On this day exactly sixty years ago, Gamal Abdul Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal Company in Egypt, changing—forever after—the political landscape of the Arab world. The historic decision triggered the Suez War just three months later and brought an end to British influence in the region, which was quickly replaced by Americanism after Suez. The […]

«سايكس ـ بيكو» إذ تصبح «نكتة»

خلنا العام الجديد منذ خمسة أشهر وعالمنا العربي بحالة يرثى لها، وشبح الموت يخيم على كل مفاصل الحياة فيه. فلسطين ما زالت تقبع تحت ابشع احتلال عرفه التاريخ الحديث، وليبيا تحتضر وهي تنتظر حرباً جديدة قيل لنا إن الأميركيين سيقودونها على السواحل الليبية لمحاربة تنظيم «داعش» هذا العام. السودان مقسّم ولبنان في حالة موت سريري […]

A century after Sykes-Picot, it’s Sykes-Picot: The Arab version

Exactly 100 years ago, the Asia Minor agreement — better known by the names of its architects, Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot — gave many of the countries of the modern Middle East their present form and shape. It marked the frontiers between Syria and British Mandate Palestine on one front, and the newly created […]

George Tarabishi: Icon of Arab Secularism dies at 77

George Tarabishi, an icon of liberal thought and Arab secularism, died in Paris on March 16. A prolific writer and translator, Tarabishi left his mark on an entire generation of Arab scholars, creating a spark of never-ending controversy from the early 1980s until his death. Depending on who one talks to in the Arab world, […]

مع شيخ الكار: هيكل ودمشق

عندما توفي الكاتب البريطاني الشهير”باتريك سيل” عام 2014 هب عددٌ من السوريين على مواقع التواصل الإجتماعي ونعتوه بأبشع الأوصاف، “المجرم” و”القلم المأجور” و”الجاسوس،” لمجرد أنه صرّح في مطلع عام 2011 أن النظام السوري لن يسقط. لم يرضي هذا الكلام المحللين الجدد في الشؤون السورية، الذين ظهروا على الساحة الإعلامية مع بدايات ما يسمى بالربيع العربي […]

Hammams of Old Damascus: Back from the Dead

The fabled Turkish baths of Damascus, or hammams, have been the subject of literature and film for decades. Not too long ago, they were a prime tourist attraction in the Syrian capital but many closed down and sunk into oblivion because of the spiraling violence after 2011. If there is one positive aspect to the […]

Hitler, Benjamin, and Hajj Amin

It’s always rather fun when world leaders make historical mistakes. As a historian, I roll over laughing. In 2005, for example, the emir of Qatar got it wrong when counting the presidential elections in Iran. That was a small mistake, of course, but emirs and kings are not supposed to make them, if they have […]

A two-way street: Emigration from Damascus

Twenty-seven US governors have recently closed their state’s borders to Syrian refugees, including Michigan, Texas, and Alabama. Syrian Paranoia is in full-gear after at least one of the suspected Paris attackers was identified as a Syrian citizen who arrived in Europe via Greece last October, officially registered as a “Syrian Refugee.” Since then panic has […]

Damascene Sufism, the antidote to ISIS

When the Islamic State stormed the city of al-Mayadeen in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zour along the Euphrates River, they struck with particular vengeance at the homes of Syrian Sufis. Members of the Sufi order were arrested; their clerics were flogged, their spiritual corners torn down. Sufism, after all, is the exact opposite of […]