Renovating Syria – Part One!

It’s been three weeks now, but the people who are currently renovating our apartment block say that it will take them three more months before finishing their work. This means three more months of dust in our air and lungs, and dirt and paint on our sidewalks. Still, the whole situation is shaping up to be very much like the process of reform said to be taking place in the country. More importantly, the mentalities involved seem to be very much the same. 

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A Heretical Epiphany!

In a rather rare moment of epiphany these days, I suddenly realize that the City, the Forever Decrepit City, no longer means anything to me.


But then, hasn’t this been the truth all along? After all, why did I really return to the City? Was it really her love that pulled me back after all these years? Is it really her love that is binding me to her while here? Or hasn’t it been my need all along, and my fear?  Continue reading

Another day in Damascus!

Khawla is preparing to go to Beirut. It’s been 20 days since our return to the Senile Country. A cold security reception at the airport set the tone of this homecoming, more or less, and culminated in a travel ban. Still, seeing the kids at the airport was absolutely rejuvenating.


The travel ban is not total, that is, I can still travel if I want, provided that I get a security clearance before I leave and report back upon my return.  Continue reading

Manners and Customs of Modern Day Damascenes

Not sure where this article was eventually published, but it was written around 2002 as part of a travel guide of sorts.

To speak of the manners and customs of modern-day Damascenes is not an easy task, the people of Damascus are simply too varied to allow for making the necessary generalizations in this regard.

For in addition to the multiplicity of religions, sects and ethnic groups, and the multifarious levels of westernization prevalent everywhere, the Damascene stands as a staunch “rugged individualist” basking in, rather than hiding underneath, that amazing layer of traditions which he/she has to follow to keep the vestiges of a seven thousands years old culture going. Continue reading