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Omar Barmada


Dimachq, Damascus, May 1980

How could I have suspected that I would never go there again?

This series is based on a joke.

A joke a little potache and easy certainly, but that I found very fun at the time. Freshly landed in a sub-prefecture of Brittany to pass my Bac, I had managed to make believe that when I lived in Damascus in Syria, I went to school on a mule. It was at the end of the 70s and I was perplexed by the vision of this region of the world that my classmates had. My French cousins ​​were convinced that we had neither electricity nor running water …

Years passed and it was once at university that I thought it would be a good idea to have pictures to show, my pictures.

May 1980, I am 20 years old. I am back with my parents in Damascus. It’s with great joy that I find the city of my adolescence. I took my reflex and a few rolls of ektachrome. I travel the city in search of the most “interesting” urban landscapes. Very quickly it was the locals who caught my attention.

By unearthing these few images, very imperfect, in past colors, it is with infinite tenderness that I think of these places and these strangers crossed over by chance.

During this stay, with my parents, we took the road and went up north, to Aleppo with my grandmother, then to the west, on the border of the Sandjak of Alexandrette, in the village of my paternal family …

I was far from suspecting that I will no longer see this land, these parents …

Deserter for the military administration, I have been watching for a long time when I can return safely.

Year after year … is there no solution?

And my father left.

Finally, too old for the army!

And war has come …

Omar Barmada


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