Quotes About Damascus

Quotes tagged as "damascus" (showing 1-5 of 5)
Christopher Hitchens
“So I close this long reflection on what I hope is a not-too-quaveringly semi-Semitic note. When I am at home, I will only enter a synagogue for the bar or bat mitzvah of a friend's child, or in order to have a debate with the faithful. (When I was to be wed, I chose a rabbi named Robert Goldburg, an Einsteinian and a Shakespearean and a Spinozist, who had married Arthur Miller to Marilyn Monroe and had a copy of Marilyn’s conversion certificate. He conducted the ceremony in Victor and Annie Navasky's front room, with David Rieff and Steve Wasserman as my best of men.) I wanted to do something to acknowledge, and to knit up, the broken continuity between me and my German-Polish forebears. When I am traveling, I will stop at the shul if it is in a country where Jews are under threat, or dying out, or were once persecuted. This has taken me down queer and sad little side streets in Morocco and Tunisia and Eritrea and India, and in Damascus and Budapest and Prague and Istanbul, more than once to temples that have recently been desecrated by the new breed of racist Islamic gangster. (I have also had quite serious discussions, with Iraqi Kurdish friends, about the possibility of Jews genuinely returning in friendship to the places in northern Iraq from which they were once expelled.) I hate the idea that the dispossession of one people should be held hostage to the victimhood of another, as it is in the Middle East and as it was in Eastern Europe. But I find myself somehow assuming that Jewishness and 'normality' are in some profound way noncompatible. The most gracious thing said to me when I discovered my family secret was by Martin, who after a long evening of ironic reflection said quite simply: 'Hitch, I find that I am a little envious of you.' I choose to think that this proved, once again, his appreciation for the nuances of risk, uncertainty, ambivalence, and ambiguity. These happen to be the very things that 'security' and 'normality,' rather like the fantasy of salvation, cannot purchase.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Christopher Hitchens
“Attempts to locate oneself within history are as natural, and as absurd, as attempts to locate oneself within astronomy. On the day that I was born, 13 April 1949, nineteen senior Nazi officials were convicted at Nuremberg, including Hitler's former envoy to the Vatican, Baron Ernst von Weizsacker, who was found guilty of planning aggression against Czechoslovakia and committing atrocities against the Jewish people. On the same day, the State of Israel celebrated its first Passover seder and the United Nations, still meeting in those days at Flushing Meadow in Queens, voted to consider the Jewish state's application for membership. In Damascus, eleven newspapers were closed by the regime of General Hosni Zayim. In America, the National Committee on Alcoholism announced an upcoming 'A-Day' under the non-uplifting slogan: 'You can drink—help the alcoholic who can't.' ('Can't'?) The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled in favor of Britain in the Corfu Channel dispute with Albania. At the UN, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko denounced the newly formed NATO alliance as a tool for aggression against the USSR. The rising Chinese Communists, under a man then known to Western readership as Mao Tze-Tung, announced a limited willingness to bargain with the still-existing Chinese government in a city then known to the outside world as 'Peiping.'

All this was unknown to me as I nuzzled my mother's breast for the first time, and would certainly have happened in just the same way if I had not been born at all, or even conceived. One of the newspaper astrologists for that day addressed those whose birthday it was:

There are powerful rays from the planet Mars, the war god, in your horoscope for your coming year, and this always means a chance to battle if you want to take it up. Try to avoid such disturbances where women relatives or friends are concerned, because the outlook for victory upon your part in such circumstances is rather dark. If you must fight, pick a man!

Sage counsel no doubt, which I wish I had imbibed with that same maternal lactation, but impartially offered also to the many people born on that day who were also destined to die on it.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

أحمد خيري العمري
“ﻗﺎﻟﺖ ﻟﻲ ﺑﻌﺘﺐ ﻭ ﻟﻮﻡ :

ﻫﺎ ﻗﺪ ﺻﺎﺭﺕ ﺩﻣﺸﻖ ﻣﺜﻞ ﺑﻐﺪﺍﺩ… ﻓﻬﻞ ﺳﺘﻜﺘﺐ ﻟﻴﻠﺔ ﺳﻘﻮﻁ ﺩﻣﺸﻖ ﻛﻤﺎ ﻛﺘﺒﺖ ﻟﻴﻠﺔ ﺳﻘﻮﻁ ﺑﻐﺪﺍﺩ؟

ﻟﻴﻠﺔ ﺳﻘﻮﻁ ﺍﻟﻨﻈام ﺳﺘﻜﻮﻥ ﻓﺠﺮ ﺩﻣﺸﻖ.
.ﻭﻟﻴﺲ ﺳﻘﻮﻃﻬﺎ.ﻻﻥ ﻃﺎﻏﻴﺘﻬﺎ ﺳﻴﺴﻘﻂ ﺑﺎﻳﺪﻱ ﺃﺑﻨﺎﺋﻬﺎ..
ﻭﻫﺬﻩ ﻫﻲ ﺍﻟﻌﻼﻣﺔ ﺍﻟﻔﺎﺭﻗﺔ ﺑﻴﻦ ﺍﻟﺴﻘﻮﻁ ﻭﺍﻟﺼﻌﻮﺩ.

ﻳﺆﺳﻔﻨﻲ ﻃﺒﻌﺎ ﺃﻧﻲ ﻟﻦ ﺃﻧﺎﻝ ﺷﺮﻑ ﺗﺴﻄﻴﺮ ﺫﻟﻚ.ﻓﺬﻟﻚ ﺷﺮﻑ ﺣﺼﺮﻱ ﺑﺄﺑﻨﺎﺋﻬﺎ ﺍﻟﻤﺒﺎﺷﺮﻳﻦ ﺍﻟﺬﻳﻦ ﻋﺎﺻﺮﻭﺍ ﺍﻟﺤﺪﺙ ﺍﻟﻤﻠﺤﻤﺔ ﻭﺍﻋﺘﺼﺮﻫﻢ،.
ﺣﺘﻰ ﻗﺪﻣﻮﺍ ﻋﺼﺎﺭﺓ ﺍﺑﺪﺍﻋﻬﻢ.

ﻃﻮﺑﻰ ﻟﻬﻢ.
ﻭﻃﻮﺑﻰ ﻟﻜﻞ ﻣﻦ ﻳﻤﻬﺪ ﻟﻬﻢ ﺩﺭﺑﻬﻢ”
أحمد خيري العمري

Tahir Shah
“For me, a journey to Damascus is an amazing hunt from beginning to end, a slice through layers of history in search of treasure.”
Tahir Shah, Travels With Myself

Christopher Hitchens
“Rolf Ekeus came round to my apartment one day and showed me the name of the Iraqi diplomat who had visited the little West African country of Niger: a statelet famous only for its production of yellowcake uranium. The name was Wissam Zahawi. He was the brother of my louche gay part-Kurdish friend, the by-now late Mazen. He was also, or had been at the time of his trip to Niger, Saddam Hussein's ambassador to the Vatican. I expressed incomprehension. What was an envoy to the Holy See doing in Niger? Obviously he was not taking a vacation. Rolf then explained two things to me. The first was that Wissam Zahawi had, when Rolf was at the United Nations, been one of Saddam Hussein's chief envoys for discussions on nuclear matters (this at a time when the Iraqis had functioning reactors). The second was that, during the period of sanctions that followed the Kuwait war, no Western European country had full diplomatic relations with Baghdad. TheVatican was the sole exception, so it was sent a very senior Iraqi envoy to act as a listening post. And this man, a specialist in nuclear matters, had made a discreet side trip to Niger. This was to suggest exactly what most right-thinking people were convinced was not the case: namely that British intelligence was on to something when it said that Saddam had not ceased seeking nuclear materials in Africa.

I published a few columns on this, drawing at one point an angry email from Ambassador Zahawi that very satisfyingly blustered and bluffed on what he'd really been up to. I also received—this is what sometimes makes journalism worthwhile—a letter from a BBC correspondent named Gordon Correa who had been writing a book about A.Q. Khan. This was the Pakistani proprietor of the nuclear black market that had supplied fissile material to Libya, North Korea, very probably to Syria, and was open for business with any member of the 'rogue states' club. (Saddam's people, we already knew for sure, had been meeting North Korean missile salesmen in Damascus until just before the invasion, when Kim Jong Il's mercenary bargainers took fright and went home.) It turned out, said the highly interested Mr. Correa, that his man Khan had also been in Niger, and at about the same time that Zahawi had. The likelihood of the senior Iraqi diplomat in Europe and the senior Pakistani nuclear black-marketeer both choosing an off-season holiday in chic little uranium-rich Niger… well, you have to admit that it makes an affecting picture. But you must be ready to credit something as ridiculous as that if your touching belief is that Saddam Hussein was already 'contained,' and that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair were acting on panic reports, fabricated in turn by self-interested provocateurs.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

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