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Difficult Start to Damascus Int’l Fair Despite Presence of Prominent Arab Artists

Difficult Start to Damascus Int’l Fair Despite Presence of Prominent Arab Artists

Monday, 10 September, 2018 - 09:00
Syrian railroad workers and technicians work on the restoration of the railway in the Syrian capital Damascus. (AFP)
Damascus - Asharq Al-Awsat
The Syrian regime is trying in vain to return economic life back to normal in a country ravaged by war for eight years. The deteriorating reality imposed itself despite all efforts by the official media to restore some of the impetus of the Damascus International Fair, held in its 60th session.

In an embarrassment to the regime, a train dedicated for the exhibition stopped running on the second day of the event, a day after the re-operation of the al-Qadam railway station in Damascus, which has been suspended for seven years.

The Director General of the Syrian Railways, Najib Fares, announced the halt of the rail trips to the exhibition was due to a technical malfunction in the train.

Some boys from the neighboring area had put stones in the train tracks, he explained.

Several Arab stars participated in the fair, upon an invitation from the Syrian regime. They included Elham Shaheen and Mahmoud Hamida from Egypt, and Walid Tawfiq, George Qordahi and others from Lebanon.

Tawfiq opened the second section of the arts festival on the sidelines of the Damascus International Fair. He called on the Syrians abroad to return to their country and dedicated his new song to them.

While, Shaheen, Hamida and Qordahi celebrated the opening of the exhibition to confirm through their presence that “the regime won and Syria is fine”, Syrian artist Suzanne Najmeddin was in the exhibition lobby, where she was crowded by fans in images only seen at film and arts festivals.

However, the presence of all those artists did not help reduce chaos in the organization of the event, which was supposed to be an economic, not a touristic or artistic exhibition.

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