Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Blog Posts

A Seventeenth-Century Latin Ode to the Chocolate Tree

January 27, 2020 at 5:04 pm

Chocolate was first introduced into Europe in the sixteenth century by the Spaniards, who brought back the cocoa beans and chocolate drink to their home nation following the defeat of the Aztec Empire. The chocolate drink soon became popular in Europe but also provoked considerable controversy over whether consumption of the chocolate drink constituted breaking the fast during fast-days. In 1664, Francesco Maria Brancaccio- a cardinal of the Catholic Church- wrote a short work entitled De Chocolatis Potu Diatribe ('Essay Concerning The Drinking Of Chocolate'), in which he concluded that drinking chocolate did not mean breaking the fast. At the end of the essay is an ode composed by a Jesuit called Aloysius Ferronius. The Jesuits, it should be noted, were supporters of the idea that drinking chocolate did not break the fast.

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The Fall of the Syrian Pound and North Aleppo Countryside: Interview

January 26, 2020 at 2:08 pm

The sharp depreciation of the Syrian pound recently has impacted all areas of Syria, not simply those controlled by the Syrian government. That includes the north Aleppo countryside region stretching from Afrin to Jarabulus with an extensive Turkish troop presence and influence in the region. There have been many suggestions for the Turkish lira to be adopted as a currency instead of the Syrian pound as a solution to the currency crisis. Indeed, in Azaz for example, it is notable that the local council sets registration prices in the 'business and industries room' in Turkish liras and U.S. dollars (see document below).

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The Village of Bakh'a in Qalamoun: Interview

January 26, 2020 at 10:08 am

The village of Bakh'a (also called al-Sarkha) in the Qalamoun region of Damascus countryside province is notable for the fact that its original inhabitants still speak Western Neo-Aramaic. The other two villages in Syria that bear this distinction are Jubb'adin and Maaloula. However, unlike the other two villages, Bakh'a was regrettably subjected to extensive damage during the war, resulting in the displacement of all of its original inhabitants. As of the time of writing, most if not all of the original inhabitants remain displaced. If any have returned, they only reside in the village on a temporary basis.

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The Local Council in Kafr Tanour: Interview

January 21, 2020 at 6:10 pm

Kafr Tanour is a village that lies in the northern Idlib countryside. Like many localities in the wider northwest region, the village suffers from a very poor humanitarian and services situation. From the civilian side, the village is administered by a local council that is affiliated with the Salvation Government. On 19 January 2020, I conducted an interview with the head of the Kafr Tanour local council. It is slightly edited and condensed for clarity. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.

Q: Can you tell me a little about Kafr Tanour in general?

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The Local Council of Kafariya: Interview

January 21, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Kafariya is a village located in north Idlib countryside. Like the neighbouring village of al-Fu'a (also see here), the original inhabitants were Syrian Shi'a who were evacuated entirely from the village by summer 2018. Since that time, Kafariya (like al-Fu'a) has been resettled primarily by Syrian IDPs from other parts of the country. Currently, a local council for Kafariya affiliated with the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham-backed Salvation Government is administering civilian affairs in the village.

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