Ing. Bachelor Marwan Alsolaiman

* 1962

  • "They have it easy here. Whenever something happens in Syria, they use a favourite expression: It's the terrorists, it's the Islamists. And that's not true. I'm not denying that in every issue someone can enter, abuse it, it's like everywhere in the world and always has been. But the main problem in Syria is the military regime that has been running the country and the Syrians for over fifty years. It is not about religions and new movements, they have only entered later to exploit the situation. And it's not just me saying that, but the president who is there today. The first six months were peaceful protests, he says it himself. My perception is that it's Syrians against the regime and then who steps in, I don't address that. I stay with the main idea that Syrians need a little bit different air, they need to live the way they want to live."

  • "I don't quite feel at home here. Neither here nor in Syria. That's the problem. I practically don't belong in Syria now because I'm not there, I don't work there, but I still have Syria and Arab culture in me, which I'm trying to pass on here, this is what's left in me. But I'm not completely Czech either, because my nature is not completely Czech, although I have picked up a lot of things from Czech friends and society. So I can't answer the question whether I am at home here or in Syria. It's very difficult."

  • "In the East in general, and in Syria of course, social relations are in full swing, people are together, they work together, you don't have a chance to be alone there. If someone wants to visit you, they don't even have to call you and ask if you're free. They come and you do what you want with it. On the one hand, it's nice, it's such a pure form of friendship, even if it's a bit over the top. That doesn't exist here, and especially in Prague, if you don't have Czech friends that you like and they like you, it's hard. Sometimes even your neighbour won't say hello to you when you're in the elevator."

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    Praha, 28.11.2023

    duration: 01:07:40
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I can’t answer the question of where I feel at home

Marwan Alsolaiman at Strahov Colleges in Prague, 1986/1987
Marwan Alsolaiman at Strahov Colleges in Prague, 1986/1987
photo: Archive of the witness

Marwan Alsolaiman was born on 17 April 1962 in Damascus, Syria. In 1982 he went to study civil engineering at the Czech Technical University in the then Czechoslovakia. He then worked in Syria for several years, but returned to the Czech Republic in 1997. He taught mathematics, physics, Arabic and Czech to foreigners, and lectured on Arabic music. He founded the Arabic band Ziriab and performed with the bands Hazuka and Kvinterna. He introduced Arabic music to children in orphanages as part of the Muses for Children project and organized workshops with Arabic themes for children. He has also occasionally worked as an interpreter and translator. In 2014, he translated the Czech short story Hodina pod drnem (“An Hour Under the Sod”) by Miroslav Sehnal from Ostrava into Arabic. In 2019, he published his own collection of poetry in Czech, Neumím česky (“I cannot speak Czech”). His lifelong passion has been football, and he even received a professional offer from Qatar. In 2023, Marwan Alsolaiman was living in Prague.