Entries by Sami Moubayed

“الصهيونية في دمشق”: تحقيق تاريخي أم قصة من الخيال؟

برغم الكوارث المتتالية على الشعب السوري، يدور نقاش فكري بين بعض المؤرخين حول تاريخ يهود مدينة دمشق ودورهم في نهضة مدينتهم الصناعية والثقافية والاجتماعية قبل احتلال فلسطين وقيام دولة إسرائيل عام 1948. بدأ هذا الحديث ينشط منذ سنوات بعد ظهور أعمال تلفزيونية عدة تشيد بيهود الشام، أدى فيها نجوم سورية أدوار شخصيات يهودية وطنية، مثل […]

Last Jewish family leaves Aleppo

The last Jewish family has left Aleppo, according to sources in northern Syria, ending a long and illustrious chapter in the diverse demographic and religious history of the city that is now torn by war due to almost five years of a vicious conflict. Chances are that Aleppo Jewry will never return as the city […]

My reflections on meeting Jimmy Carter in Damascus

In October 2010, President Jimmy Carter visited Damascus with a senior delegation from The Elders, an international NGO of senior citizens and peacemakers brought together by President Nelson Mandela. The delegation that came to Damascus included UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland. Carter knew Damascus well, being a […]

A long, hard look at ‘Zionism in Damascus’

A healthy debate is currently underway within some Syrian intellectual circles, despite the disaster that has befallen them, about the role of Damascus Jews in the industry, culture and social life of their city prior the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The issue surfaced a few years back after a series of […]

The Said El Djezairi Memoirs: A Must Read for ISIS and Its Caliph

In 1968, an obscure 334-page memoir was published in Algeria, penned by Emir Said El Djezairi, a Damascus-based Algerian notable. The author and his memoirs are both forgotten names in modern Middle East history. The west better knows him by genealogy as grandson of Emir Abdelkader El Djezairi, the fascinating 19th century Algerian resistance leader […]

Syria’s treasures are being smashed – but we will rise again

Things are bad when a 1941 letter from Charles de Gaulle to the Syrian president is used to block a broken window at the Damascus Museum Strolling behind the Grand Umayyad Mosque one finds a melange of shabby antique shops dotted across the meandering cobbled alleys of Old Damascus. Once they were frequented by tourists […]

A new bible for scholars of King Faisal I

The revolt turned civil war has held all Syrians by the throat since 2011. Entire cities have been pounded to dust. The social fabric of the ancient land has collapsed, and so has the economy, along with the people’s moral. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have drowned in blood — others in the waters of […]

Breaking the law by reading Ghassan Tweini

Back in the mid-1990s, when studying at the American University of Beirut (AUB), we would rush to newsstands every Monday morning to buy the popular mass circulation daily Annahar, in order to read Ghassan Tueni’s editorial. Syrian students always looked left and right before buying the newspaper, so as not to be spotted by the […]

Anthony Shadid: A voice telling our tale

Anthony Shadid, the celebrated Lebanese-American journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, died on Tuesday, reportedly from an asthma attack, while covering news in Syria. He was only 42. I first met Tony nine years ago through a common friend, Oklahoma University Professor Joshua Landis, and have followed up on his work ever since, rather religiously. It […]

iSad in Damascus: Syrians reclaim Steve Jobs

During the years of French Mandate Syria, Abdulfattah Jandali was born to a large landowning family in the midland town of Homs in 1931. Like most affluent and ambitious Syrians of his generation, he studied at the American University of Beirut before moving to the United States to complete his higher education in the 1950s. […]