Al-Haj Saleh, Yassin

Freiheit: Heimat, Gefängnis, Exil und die Welt

»Every act of freedom – leaving home, leaving the present, severing traditions, freeing one from oneself, abandoning a religion, and rebelling against the rebellion itself – is an adventure. It is always exhausting and can be dramatic: Those who seek freedom risk their lives!«

»Freiheit: Heimat, Gefängnis, Exil und die Welt« (Freedom: Homeland, Prison, Exile and the World) by Yassin Al-Haj Saleh, the fourth volume of the publication series of the Forum Transregionale Studien at Matthes & Seitz Berlin was published in spring 2020. The volume is also available open access at

Translated from Arabic to German by Günther Orth, edited and with a forward by Georges Khalil and a biographical profile by Wolf Lepenies.

Yassin Al-Haj Saleh was born in Raqqa, Syria, in 1961. Arrested in 1980 as a 19-year-old medical student and member of the democratic wing of the Syrian Communist Party for his opposition to tyranny in his country, he was released in 1996 at the age of 36. He went underground at the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011. Since 2013, he has been living in exile, initially in Istanbul. In 2017-19, Al-Haj Saleh was a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin for two years and was subsequently appointed, with the support of the Gerda Henkel Foundation, Senior Fellow of the research program “Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe” (EUME) at the Forum Transregional Studien. From December 2019, he has been a Fellow of the Writers-in-Exile Program of the German PEN.

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