Yassin al-Haj Saleh

Yassin al Haj Saleh, born 1961 in Raqqa, Syria, is now one of Syria’s leading and most vocal writer and intellectual. In 1980 Yassin was arrested by Hafez al-Assad regime because of his membership in the Syrian Communist Party-Political Bureau. He remained in prison for 16 years and 14 days (7. 12. 1980 – 21. 12. 1996).

Since 2000, Yassin al-Haj Saleh has been writing on political, social and cultural subjects relating to Syria and the Arab world for several Arab newspapers and journals outside Syria. He regularly contributes to “Al-Hayat” and “Al-Quds Al-Arabi” newspapers and the Syrian online periodical “al-Jumhuriya”. In addition, he has authored and edited six books about Syria: “The Syria From Under Shades: Insights from Within the Black Box” (2009); “The Myths of the Successors: a Critique of Contemporary Islam and a Critique of the Critique” (2011); “Salvation, o Guys: 16 Years in the Syrian Prisons” (2012); and “Walking on One Leg” (2012. It is about Syrian politics, political economy, and Identity); “Culture as Politics: Intellectuals and their Social Responsibility in the time of Monsters” (2016); “The Impossible Revolution” (2017).

Together with a group of Syrians and Turks he established “Hamisch”, a Syrian Cultural House in Istanbul ( hamisch.org). He is a founding member of al Jumhuriya group that thinks and writes about Syrian affairs since March 2012 ( aljumhuriya.net). In 2012, Yassin al-Haj Saleh was awarded the Prince Claus Award, a prize supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs that recognizes intellectuals who make an impact on their societies. He was unable to collect the award, as he was living in hiding in Damascus. Yassin al Haj Saleh appeared in two documentaries:  “Journey into memory” by Hala Mohammad, and “Our terrible country” by Ali Atassi and Ziad Homsi. He received the Tucholsky Prize laureate form the Swedish Pen Club in 2017. Currently he is a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin 2017-2018.

As of March 2017

Yassin al-Haj Sale

© Mies Rogmans

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