Syria: Comedian Yassin Bakoush Killed by Rocket

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Bakoush moved to the “Puppet Theater” and starred in several productions with the National Theatre troupe. (Photo: Archive)

By: Wissam Kanaan

Published Tuesday, February 26, 2013

After a lifetime of creating happiness, Yassin Bakoush (1938-2013), a famous Syrian comedian, was killed by a rocket last Sunday, 24 February 2013.

Bakoush’s origins can be traced to Libya. When his grandfather became sick en route to Mecca, he stopped his trip in Damascus. He decided to remain and start a family.

Bakoush would always mention that he discovered this story after he became famous, when one of his Libyan aunts contacted him to pay him a visit.

Bakoush became famous alongside the founders of Syrian TV comedy, like Nouhad Qalai (aka Hosni al-Borazan), Duraid Lahham (Ghawar al-Tosheh), Naji Jabr (Abu-Antar), and Rafic al-Sbeiei (Abu-Sayah). Yet he got his start at the “Free Theater” in 1956 with its founder Abdel-Latif Fathi (aka Abou Kalabsha).

From there, he moved to the “Puppet Theater” and starred in several productions with the National Theatre troupe. This was nothing compared to the fame he would enjoy playing “Yassino,” the character for which he would be remembered several years after his retirement.

From “Ghawwar’s Antics,” to “Salt and Sugar,” he always played the good hearted and naively happy character. When Lahham tried to bring back the characters in 1999 with the television series “The Return of Ghawar,” it was reported that Bakoush refused to join, considering it to be a betrayal of their deceased comrades, Qalai and Jabr.

Due to his loyalty to the most famous Syrian characters, he could not succeed in his commercial work. They were seen as cheap attempts to exploit the character of Yassino.

Recently, director Mohammed Abdul-Aziz tried to reintroduce Bakoush to the limelight as a movie projectionist in “Half a Milligram of Nicotine” (2009) and as the mukhtar in “To Damascus with Love” (2011).

“Again, another green leaf falls from the mother tree. The date of his death will be inscribed with black ink in the quagmire in which we are drowning,” said Abdul-Aziz. The Syrian director said that he will always remember the deceased for his “punctuality and how he would begin taking notes the moment he started reading a scenario.”

His partner, Duraid Lahham, preferred to “hold on” to his “silence, sadness, shock, and anger at what happened,” the actor’s son told Al-Akhbar.

A source close to the family of the deceased actor informed Al-Akhbar that they tried to convince him not to leave his home in Yarmouk refugee camp due to the security situation. He left anyway, without telling anyone. He was caught in the crossfire and killed, then his body was mutilated.

“We heard the news on al-Jazeera, which was the first station to report it,” Bakoush’s only sister told Al-Akhbar. “Then we found out that his body was in the Palestine Hospital.”

“We moved the body so we could hold the funeral procession from al-Mujtahid hospital in Damascus toward the Sheikh Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Mosque in the Salihiya neighborhood.”

“His prayers will be held following the noon prayers and he will be buried in al-Taghlabiya cemetery in Salihiya,” she added. Condolences will be accepted at the Charity Rescue Hall near Nijmeh square.

“We don’t know how he died. We haven’t asked yet because we are busy with our tragedy and burial procedures,” she explained. “We believe this was his fate. We hand his killers to God. Let Him deal with them.”

“Yassin was a human being in the true sense of the word. He was a true brother and a loving father. I trust and know well that everyone who knew Yassin will say that he had a good heart and never hurt anyone his entire life. Those who know him closely will not have the heart to hurt him, even with a word. How could those people do what they did?”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


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