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The Hakawati or storyteller regales Damascenes and tourists alike with animated renditions of classic tales (such as ‘Antar wa ‘Abla). He sits at Maqha an-Nawfara, a café situated next to a fountain (nawfara) near the Umayyad Mosque that has stood for over 1000 years. Imagine having your tea there … under the watchful gaze of the president, of course, and God knows who else. Syrians have managed to live with the contradiction of ancient heroes versus contemporary thugs for many decades. Now they struggle to liberate themselves from this situation. Where are their heroes today? We await their stories.

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