am 13. Dezember 1996
Lieve Joris is a Flemish (Belgian) travel-author living in Amsterdam with a particular interest in Africa and the Arab world. She wrote this book after the Gulf War after living for six months in Damascus. She stayed with Hala, a Syrian acquantaince, and her little daughter. Lieve shared the life of this Syrian family. She shared their happiness, daily problems but also more serious problems (Hala's husband was imprisoned on political grounds). Life in this family seemed also rather claustrofibic to Lieve : Hala shares a lot of time with her parents, sisters etc in a rather 'enclosed' culture. Lieve soon feels there are little means of contact with other people. Therefore she also started making some trips in the country, partly to more touristic places (like the Roman ruins in Palmyra, the town Aleppo). But she also has a talent to meet interesting people (intellectuals, artists etc) and so she finds out more about Syrian society after the Gulf War. "The Gates of Damascus" is also one of Joris' more personal accounts, the reader feels she's actually involved in what she expearences
am 28. Februar 1999
For three years I've lived in Damascus, during the Gulf War. I've read "lonely planet gates of Damascus" in it's original state, in Dutch. Everything seemed so familiar to me it could have been my own diary. I really adore this book and I'd like to recommand this book to everyone who will be living in an Arabic country, because it will give you a realistic view of the present situation in an Arabic society. Please bear in mind that Syria is not the slightest like, for instance, Saoedi-Arabia. Others who have been living in Syria might find it fascinating to know how the life in the Syrian getto actually is. You will find the conversations and communication problems very familiar! Further I'd like to read more books like these; so if anyone can help me, please mail...
am 24. Juli 1997
Every book from Lieve Joris is an ultimate window in certain affairs of the current world, such as Hungaria, Zaire (yet known as the Republic of Congo), Mali, The Gulf States, Syria, Egypt etc. The words the writer chooses are dedicated to their subject. And Lieve Joris knows she is a subject too. This book about Damascus tells us about the innerlife of the innercity of Damascus. It is a story about the women in Damascus, the men, the politics, real life, the dreams of the past and the no-hopes of the future. This is how I see it. If you like newspapers and human interest in a journalistic way: try this book! (And all of her others aswell)
am 11. Januar 2000
I am very interested in the material that Ms. Joris covers in her book. The most lasting impression however is how well she portrays the psychological weight of being a woman in the middle east. I sort of felt like I had spent 4 months in Syria after reading it. It rings true -- based on my travel experiences and lives of friends.
If you liked this (or are interested in Middle Eastern women's issues) you'll probably like Nine Parts of Desire, The Price of Honor, and Memoirs from the Women's Prison (Saadawi). Generally more academic, Fatima Mernissi is a good writer.