Fakrhi al-Barudi was an avant-garde and three-dimensional nationalist who graced the political and cultural scene of Damascus from 1910 until his death in 1966.
As a democratically elected member of the Syrian Parliament he helped establish Damascus Radio in 1947 and Syrian Television in 1960. He built Syria’s first old-age home and established the country’s first think-tank at his old mansion in the al-Qanawat neighbourhood, west of the Old City.
“Fakhri Bey” as locals called him, trained and sponsored an entire generation of Syrian artists, painters, and dancers, promoting stage performances in the Syrian capital. He also launched one satirical newspaper and set up numerous civil society initiatives, like the Franc Project, and raised 25 million Syrian Pounds for the Syria Army in 1955.
A prolific essayist, poet, and humourist, he penned timeless classics about love, chivalry, politics, and Damascus. For twenty-six years, he was a ranking member of the National Bloc, the leading anti-French movement in Syria. The French had him imprisoned and banished during numerous stages of his career, and he was hailed as one of Syria’s founding fathers on Independence Day in April 1946.