Syrian student who failed GCSE English exam praised for poem about homeland

Ftoun Abou Kerech wrote “The Doves of Damascus” shortly after arriving in the UK aged 14, in which she writes about the sadness she felt about leaving Syria. (Twitter: @KateClanchy1)
Updated 24 August 2019

Syrian student who failed GCSE English exam praised for poem about homeland

  • Ftoun Abou Kerech wrote “The Doves of Damascus” shortly after arriving in the UK

LONDON: A Syrian student in the UK who failed her English GCSE exams has gone viral with a poem she wrote about her homeland.
Ftoun Abou Kerech wrote “The Doves of Damascus” shortly after arriving in the UK aged 14, in which she writes about the sadness she felt about leaving Syria and what made it special to her.
Her teacher, Kate Clanchy — who is also an award-winning poet herself — posted it on Twitter and it was quickly picked up and praised by social media users.
Clanchy, speaking to the UK’s The Times newspaper, said she posted the poem in frustration that the current GCSE system did not recognize “literary talent and imaginative use of language.”

She said: “The new GCSE is the last straw in a bundle of shallow thinking.
“It is over-determined syllabuses and bullying of teachers which has been getting heavier for a long, long time,” she added.
Syrian student Kerech achieved a 4 in her English Language exam, but 5 is considered a good pass.
Her poem was picked up by notable authors like Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, and Sir Philip Pullman — author of His Dark Materials — who hailed the student as a “talent.”
 

 

 

— — —

The Doves of Damascus

I lost my country and everything I
had before.

And now
I cannot remember for sure
the soft of the snow in my country.
I cannot remember
the feel of the damp air in summer.

Sometimes I think I remember
the smell of the jasmine
as I walked down the street

And sometimes autumn
With its orange and scarlet leaves
Flying in the high Damascus sky.

And I am sure I remember
my grandmother’s roof garden,
its vines, its sweet red grapes,
The mint she grew in crates for tea.

I remember the birds, the doves
of Damascus. I remember
how they scattered. I remember
Trying to catch them.


‘Another one!’ DJ Khaled announces birth of second son with joyful Instagram snap

DJ Khaled and wife Nicole Tuck already have a son, Ashad, who was born in 2016. (File/AFP)
Updated 21 January 2020

‘Another one!’ DJ Khaled announces birth of second son with joyful Instagram snap

DUBAI: US-Palestinian producer DJ Khaled, famous for his catchphrase “another one!” took to Instagram in the early hours of Tuesday to announce the happy news that he is the proud father of a new baby boy.  

Posting a picture of himself with the family’s doctor, Dr Jin, after the birth, the “Wild Thoughts” hitmaker said: ‘THANK YOU ALLAH! THANK YOU MY QUEEN NICOLE! BLESS UP DR JIN ! ANOTHER ONE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (sic).”

DJ Khaled and wife Nicole Tuck already have a son, Ashad, who was born in 2016.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by DJ KHALED (@djkhaled) on

The chart-topping producer announced that he was going to become a father for the second time in 2019 with a picture of Tuck having an ultrasound scan.