Salim Barakat was born in Rojava or northern Syria and currently lives in Sweden. Photo: courtesy of Barakat
The Kurdish novelist Salim Barakat writing and publishing in Arabic has published a new novel on the history of the Syrian city of Palmyra whose title reads ‘The Roaring of Shadows in Zenobia's Gardens
In his latest novel, Barakat goes back to the city of Derek Palmyra in Syria, writing about its history, the life and death of Zenobia, the queen of Palmyra.
This historic city had its share of destruction in the Syrian war over the past six years. It is home to scores of heritage sites and was for some time captured by ISIS militants who damaged these sites substantially.
Barakat was born in Rojava or northern Syria and currently lives in Sweden. He is a prolific writer who has published tens of novels, articles and poetry books.
In his new novel, Barakat touches upon the life of the queen of Palmyra, Queen Zenobia who was in rivalry with the Roman Empire. Through his distinctive use of language, he draws the readers’ imagination to walk through the dark alleys of the history of the Middle East and Syria which remains tied in this bitter history.
The novel has 580 pages in which Barakat views history as a novelist rather than a historian. He specially speaks about relations between the Roman Empire and Palmyra, as well as touching on how Zenobia was held captive and then killed.
This piece of art is Barakat’s 23rd novel which was printed and published by the Arab Establishment for Research and Publication.
As usual, Barakat’s use of language in his new work is magical and distinctive. He indirectly links the current events in Syria with the historic events of the region, bringing up Palmyra as an example.
“The first Hirodsi is 18 years of age. He is the guest of Emperor Claudius the second in Rome. This is one of the customs in the alliance between emperors. They take one of their sons to themselves to prevent plots and ensure promises are not broken. Odinazus asks him: what are the borders of Rome? What are the borders of the deities of Rome? Borders will be formed for every deity when deities increase. Every area will be the property of a deity. The north, east and south, each has its own deity. Every mountain, sea, river and cloud will have its own deity. If there is only one deity, human beings will destroy each other in order to be the owner of the deity, because human tricks are endless,” reads part of Barakat’s novel.
He published another novel ‘The Captives of Sinjar’ in 2016. Barakat has impressed the world of the Arab literature by his literary work.