Ghost Writers and Ugly Animals

Letters from Issue 30

Origins of the Fairouz Ritual

Dear Editors,

I just finished Matthew McNaught’s piece (“Fairouz in Exile,” Issue 29), having put it off for weeks because I didn’t want it to end. The first few paragraphs, when he describes the unusually civil YouTube section and the ritual with the morning coffee, put into words something I didn’t know anyone would ever be able to properly describe.

One question left unanswered in the piece is why Fairouz became a Syrian ritual. I asked my dad (not a quotable source exactly but pretty reliable), and he said that back in the day, Hafez al Assad asked, or perhaps ordered, that every barrack and military training center play Fairouz in the morning. All men did mandatory military service, and they often went on to be taxi drivers or open small coffee shops, and out of force of habit, always played Fairouz in the morning. Perhaps a disappointing explanation, but it is one that makes sense, and explains the pervasiveness of the ritual.

 — Anonymous

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