Sun, Mar 13

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Rethink Rebuild Society

How to Write a War: the Story of a Narrative Journalist from Syria

AlJumhuriya Collective and Celebrating Syria Festival invite you, in this hybrid event, to discuss the work of Mona Rafea, pseudonym, a rare and critical voice that has been telling stories, from inside Homs, of those who have stayed in the city.

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How to Write a War: the Story of a Narrative Journalist from Syria

Time & Location

Mar 13, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM GMT

Rethink Rebuild Society , Unit 7, Longsight Business Park, Hamilton Rd, Longsight, Manchester M13 0PD, UK

About the Event

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AlJumhuriya Collective and Celebrating Syria festival invite you, in this hybrid event, to read and discuss the work of Mona Rafea, pseudonym, who writes from inside Homs, Syria.

Once known as the Capital of the Revolution, Homs has gradually faded away from news headlines and become a forgotten city. With over half of its neighbourhoods heavily destroyed, everyday life in Homs has been radically reshaped by destruction of its built environment and the displacement of its people.

From inside Homs, a rare and critical voice has reached out to the world to tell stories of those who have stayed in the city. Between 2018 and 2022, Mona Rafea, has written twenty-two articles from inside Homs, all published with AlJumhuriya.net.

For diasporic communities, Rafea’s stories have become a window into the inside of Syria. Through words, Rafea explores different themes such as loss, womanhood, masculinity, love and waiting. An artist of words, she paints vivid pictures of fears, anxieties and dreams of the people of Homs. She goes to great lengths describing faces as she walks the streets, and imagines the worries and thoughts that occupy their minds. Rafea’s writing has continued to keep Homs alive, proving that writing can be a tool of resistance and a mechanism to fight against intentional or unintentional amnesia.

In this event, we celebrate the work of Rafea, inviting five Syrians living in different countries (e.g. UK, Norway and Germany) to read and engage with it.

The readings will be followed by a discussion between Ammar Azzouz and Yaaser Al Zaiat, a London-based editor at AlJumhuriya.net.

Al-Jumhuriya Collective was founded in March 2012 by a group of Syrian writers and academics, both inside and outside the country, to be a platform for Syrians to speak their mind on a myriad political, social, cultural, and other questions thrown up by the revolution and ensuing conflict in their country.

Initially published only in Arabic, in 2016 Al-Jumhuriya launched an English-language sister site to broaden its reach and enable new voices, Syrian and otherwise, to contribute to the conversation.

Through its distinct blend of commentaries, reportage, long-form essays, interviews, podcasts, translations, and short fiction, Al-Jumhuriya seeks to illuminate in full and vivid colour the Syrian picture too often viewed in disparate versions of monochrome. While aspiring fervently to a democratic and just future for Syria, Al-Jumhuriya retains full independence from any political faction, party, government, or corporation.

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