Anthrow Circus

Introduction to Arabic Poetry: Poet Nizar Qabbani

VIDEO PRODUCTION AND PHOTO BY ZAHER AL ZAHER
POEM RECITED BY ZAHER AL ZAHER
ARTICLE TEXT BY HEATHER M. SURLS

Today’s poem, recited by Syrian photojournalist Zaher Al Zaher, tells of a man’s love for a beautiful woman who is blind. After insisting that she cannot marry without her sight, the man says he will find someone to donate a pair of eyes for her. Then, when she wakes up able to see, the woman realizes her lover is himself blind and refuses to marry him. Saddened, he releases her with a parting request: that she promise to care for his eyes.

Trauma-Informed Art-Making: An Interview

ARTICLE BY HEATHER M. SURLS
PHOTOS BY SARAH RACINE

Over the last decade Sarah Racine has worked internationally as a trauma-informed art-maker, helping a spectrum of individuals—from victims of human trafficking to refugees—find healing from trauma, abuse, and war. Though Racine calls Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “home” in the U.S., she recently relocated to Amman, Jordan, to study Arabic and explore options for working long-term in the region. Racine sat with Anthrow Circus’s Jordan correspondent, Heather Surls, to talk about her profession and how the arts can bring healing and hope to adults and children affected by trauma.

View From a Pandemic: Amman, Jordan

STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS


On Day 23 of quarantine I stood in front of a black iron gate, coaxing open its sliding lock. This gate was not mine, nor was the yard or the building inside. They didn’t belong to a friend either, or even to a neighbor. Essentially, I was attempting to trespass on a stranger’s property in broad daylight.

The Conundrum of Return to Syria

STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS
ILLUSTRATIONS BY RAHAF ADNAN OUDAH

From afar, the plight of refugees can be hard to understand. Why did they leave their homeland in the first place? What is daily life like in the place in which they’ve tried to find safety? Will they return home one day? Our correspondent in Jordan takes us deep into the lives of two Syrian families who fled to neighboring Jordan and now long to return home as most of Syria regains a level of calm. Learn why the question of whether to return to Syria has no straightforward answer.

Books Are Like Water: The 24-Hour Bookshop

STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS, WITH TRANSLATION HELP BY MARADI AYED ALHAWARI
PHOTOS BY HALA MAHMOUD

Our resident correspondent in Amman has been working on this story for ages. As she ran into road block after road block, we thought we might have a mysterious mini-series on our hands, complete with legends, cracked-open doorways, and classical Arabic to decipher. But our intrepid writer persisted and now brings you a delicious story of the power of a multi-generational love affair with books.

A Painted Street in Jabal Amman

STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS

Heather Surls introduces us to two young artists adding paint to public walls for an annual street art festival in Amman, Jordan. Check here for more of Heather’s reports from life in Amman.

Returning Home to Inspiration

STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS

Heather Surls introduces us to a young designer who has found unexpected inspiration back home in Jordan—both design inspiration and inspiration in terms of whom she employs.

#HijabFashion

ARTICLE BY HEATHER M. SURLS

Our resident contributor in Amman, Jordan, takes us into the world of #hijabfashion, a commonly used hashtag for this burgeoning corner of the fashion world in which social media is a large part of the marketing strategy.

On Choosing One’s Neighbors

STORY BY HEATHER M. SURLS

Who are the characters who would give life to a story about your neighborhood? Here, Heather Surls answers that question about her own neighborhood by introducing us to those who inhabit its daily comings and goings in Amman, Jordan.