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SYRIA DEEPLY

What Syrian Soap Operas Tell Us About Bashar Al-Assad

The popular TV dramas were once considered a reflection of the Syrian President's will for reform. Things have changed since the uprising in 2011, even if the shows must go on.

'Birth from the Waist' Syrian soap opera, aka 'musalsalat'
'Birth from the Waist' Syrian soap opera, aka 'musalsalat'
Donatella Della Ratta

Syria’s soap operas, known as "musalsalat," have a large following in the country. Donatella Della Ratta, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School specializing in the study of musalsalat, explains that they tend to last for a month through the end of Ramadan, or just until after Eid, usually 30 episodes of around 40 or 45 minutes each.

Della Ratta spent five years in Damascus and studied how the medium’s narratives changed as protests began in 2011. This is what she found:

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U.S. tennis star Serena Williams was eliminated in the first round at Wimbledon by France’s Harmony Tan

Joel Silvestri, McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou and Lisa Berdet

👋 Moni moni onse!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Turkey lifts its veto on Finland and Sweden joining NATO, there’s stunning new testimony in the Jan. 6 hearings and Airbnb bans parties forever. Meanwhile, the latest edition of our “Work → In Progress” series zooms in on changes at play in the world of work, from the emergence of digital nomad visas to asynchronous work schedules.

[*Chewa, Malawi and Zambia]

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