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“Why Damascus?” by Tomás Alcoverro

May 18, 20177:30 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 7:30 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
In Spanish.

Tomás Alcoverro, a correspondent for La Vanguardia in the Middle East since 1970, is presenting his book in Córdoba.

The work narrates the author’s recent travel to wartime Syria as a journalist. There he has come face to face with the disheartening scene in a country which he loves and has known for 40 years, populated by inhabitants from different cultures who have been capable of co-existing with the desire to move towards the future, now reduced to ruins and rubble. Its age-old cities have been wiped out by bombs and the local people have set off on a mass exodus that is having a profound humanitarian impact around the world.

The correspondent travels around these places, from Damascus to Homs, from Hama to Aleppo, and speaks to us about their history, the everyday life of their people, the most unique characters there... Alcoverro also takes a narrative journey to Egypt, during the times of the “Arab revolution,” comparing the excitement it aroused with the reality of the outcome.

Tomás Alcoverro has worked uninterruptedly as a correspondent for La Vanguardia over the last four decades. He has had more than eight thousand chronicles published, nearly all of them on topics about the Middle East. After earning his degree in Law at Barcelona’s Law School, and another in Journalism in Madrid, he began his professional adventures abroad. He has collaborated with the magazines Destino, Cuadernos para el diálogo, Ínsula, El Correo Catalán, La Vanguardia, where he entered the international politics section in 1965, and ABC, in which he has had literary articles published. Alcoverro has been a witness to all of the major conflicts in the Middle East, from the October War between Arabs and Israel in 1973, the Turkish military intervention in Cyprus one year later, the long Lebanese Civil War from 1975 to 1990, Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979, the lengthy eight-year conflict between Iran and Iraq, the Palestinian intifadas, the US invasion of Iraq, etc. He has also been one of the few foreign correspondents to stay in western Beirut during the times of terror and kidnappings. His recent chronicles on Syria and Damascus are an example of his honesty and style. An author of essays and stories, he is also a conference speaker and translator who cooperates with television and radio broadcasters. For several years, he has been writing a blog called “Diary from Beirut.” He has been decorated for his work with the Commendation of Queen Isabella the Catholic and the Cross of Sant Jordi, and he has earned the Godó, Gaziel, Cirilo Rodríguez and Ortega y Gasset journalism awards, shared with other Spanish correspondents stationed in Baghdad in the winter of 2003, as well as the Vázquez Montalbán, Madrid International Press Club and Interpress awards. His last book, Por qué Damasco? Estampas de un mundo árabe que se desvanece (Why Damascus?: Images from a vanishing Arab world) which we presented here, was published last April. The book includes texts not only about the Syrian people, the population and its landscapes and endless war, but also writings about the decadence of the way of life in Egypt and Lebanon and political reflections on major events in the Middle East.
“Why Damascus?” by Tomás Alcoverro

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