Letters to myself from Syria #2

I thought I could share another letter from Syria.

But I’m actually finding it really difficult.

Because every time I go to share the words or try to find the words to describe how safe we felt travelling throughout this extraordinary country it seems like a nonsense compared to what is at play now.

When I try to describe a beautiful night we spent on a hotel verandah …

… overlooking this…

… talking to an ex-Australian AFL star who married a beautiful girl from Cairo
it fills me with sadness because all I can think of are the atrocities being committed 50 kilometres away.

They were expecting their first child.

If I said this Aussie lad with a bad boy reputation had left his country, left a life of fame to become a quiet, gentle Muslim called Mustafa what would you make of it?

Sometimes it’s good to have our defenses challenged…

There are so many different ways to lead a life …

And what started as a rather defeated post … could perhaps be one of hope …
if we are open to seeing things from a different perspective.

Change is possible.

We saw it.

That night.

On a simple concrete verandah in Syria.

And I know from press reports that our friend and his wife gave birth to a healthy little boy in the peak of the Cairo riots. If by any chance they stumble upon this, I wish them continued peace as I do for the people of Syria.

Who knows?

Assalamu alaikum  (Peace be upon you)

I hope I got it right. If I didn’t, you’ll know my intention was good 🙂

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    1. Posted 5 June 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for posting this – it was beautiful
      Assamalamu alaikum

    2. Posted 5 June 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      I felt much the same when civil war broke out in Sierra Leone. I could only remenber beautiful beaches and friendly people. Hard to think then, that they would soon be kiling each other. 🙁

      • Posted 5 June 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Our experience in 2010 was that Syria seemed to be really pulling ahead. People were visiting. There was lots of building going on everywhere. It’s just so sad.

    3. Posted 5 June 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      an interesting read and beautiful images of this beautiful country.

    4. Andrew Stokes
      Posted 6 June 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Two thoughts: one, is that it just seems nonsensical that such beauty, such good spirit, gets torn down by conflict, war and hatred; the other is that as tourists, we are often naive in a foreign land. We don’t see the mechanisms by which control is carried out. Most people get along, do their thing, work within the freedoms they have been given. Meanwhile, one per cent of the population is getting squeezed very hard to keep everyone else in line.

      Enjoying the blog, lovely photos, lovely reflections.

      • Posted 6 June 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        I know exactly what you mean Andrew. In the previous post I made note that ours was only ever going to be a shallow interpretation of what was really going on. We were only there for a couple of weeks. And we we were playing it pretty safe, that is until we decided to visit Lebanon and cross back into Syria on the eve of their second biggest public holiday. Half a million Syrians work in Lebanon so you can imagine the rush and push at border crossings to get home. But that’s another story 🙂 We caught a cab in Sydney, a few weeks after getting back, and the driver was a Syrian who’d lived out here for 25 years and we got talking and he reckons there wouldn’t be a family in Syria that hasn’t had someone go missing and he said people have been too frightened to ask after them for fear of disappearing themselves. Whether or not that’s true I don’t know. I still believe you can get a gauge of a country’s spirit – even as a tourist and we encountered a lot of very friendly, welcoming people. Generosity is hard wired in. Glad you’re enjoying the read. I’m getting a lot of pleasure putting it together.

    5. Roswyn sanders
      Posted 6 June 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      I love your blogging. Your photos are beautiful keep up the amazing work and words

    6. Posted 6 June 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Thanks Ros. Nice to hear x

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