The Arab Institute for Research and Publishing recently released the book “The European Journey 1911 - 1912, from Damascus to Rome, Paris, Munich, Vienna, Belgrade, Budapest, Sofia, and Istanbul” by Fakhri al-Baroudi. The book was awarded the Ibn Battuta Award for Travel Literature 2021 in the Manuscript Investigation.
Presenting the book, the publishers said: “These memoirs, written by the national leader Fakhri al-Baroudi, are of exceptional value. Some parts express personal aspirations and ideas of a renaissance that adopted liberalism early on.
“The early journey to Europe was a personal opportunity for the young Baroudi, allowing him to put his liberal ideas to the test and find models for the renaissance he aspired to.
“Every line on the pages of these memoirs is marked by hope and visions for the future, as well as a sense of humor that speaks to a spirit with a proclivity for novelty and innovation seen in advanced nations.
“It could perhaps serve as a lamp that shines some light in our path to a new Arab era that its protagonist speaks to.
“Immediately upon returning from Europe, he embarked on a multifaceted social struggle: cultural, intellectual, artistic and political. A vigilant young man from a prestigious Damascene family, Baroudi turned his home in the Qanawat neighborhood into a hub for writers, thinkers, artists and political leaders.
“He also turned it into a fortress for resistance to both French colonialism and reactionary forces, becoming the most prominent leader in Damascus throughout the first half of the 20th century and some of the second half.”