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The others (aramean stroll), Syria
2009

56km north of Damascus, the village of Ma’loula has a peculiar history: the majority of its inhabitants are Aramaic speaking Christians, more precisely they use the Palestinians strain of the ancient language ; the language of Christ.


Whereas wars rage and threaten Syria’s bordering countries, and while these wars are increasingly presented as sectarian conflicts, Ma’aloula maintains a peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims so that the ancient bonds are not broken. Ma’aloula has at least two paradoxes and this is another of its quirks and demonstrates a dialogue of mutual respect.

Ma’loulans live their faith to such excess that it has almost become folklore. During the famous Festival of the Cross, people drink arak and throw flaming tires from the mountains to the village, people dance and Christ is celebrated under enormous neon crosses.

For economic reasons there has been high immigration and Ma’aloula has gradually lost the continued use of its language which is being replaced by Arabic. An attempt, however, is now being made to save Aramaic by teaching it in a school in the village.

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