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Monday, November 24


It has been 2 years since I stopped writing! I never had it in my mind to stop blogging. On the contrary, there were always things, thoughts and ideas I wanted to share, but I was always busy and there was always the common excuse “no time”. When friends used to ask me ‘why did u stop blogging’ I found it easy to say ‘the Syrian government has banned blogger.com’. After all, we are all human beings, i.e. inclined to blame others!
Now, being away from Syria, having left my parents, my family, my friends, my home, my street, my work, and my memories behind… I come back to my blog, feeling the urge to read some of my previous posts, anything to remind me of my old days and bring back those beautiful memories…
Although I am very happy in my new life which I willingly chose, I always miss everything back home. I miss looking from my window at cars outside, at pedestrians, at children pedaling their bicycles watched over by their Indonesian maids, at students studying German language at Goethe institute, thinking maybe of also leaving Syria to continue their studies abroad and most probably of not coming back again!
I miss Shaa’lan Street and all its mess, traffic and the crowd out there. I miss Salhiya Street and Abu Abdo, the cocktail shop and his famous fruit salad, I miss Aljahez Park and its surroundings, I miss restaurants, coffee shops and Shawrma, I miss old Damascus, and every single stone right there, I miss the strange faces I used to see there, faces of sellers, of beggars and of people that it never happened to see them twice!
I miss the smell of pollution back home, the dirt on streets, the dusty buildings, the big ugly green trash bins full of stray cats and its bad smell. I miss mad taxi drivers and that hidden anger and the question of why I didn’t fight with them?!
I miss all of Syria and its weird, difficult and incomprehensible texture, the mixture of old and new, rich and poor, beautiful and ugly, familiar faces I never saluted at all, but used to give me some sense of security, the feeling of being home…
In Short, I miss the unique spirit of Damascus.
Am I going to return to Syria? No one could tell how soon that will be.


Monday, January 29

The Only Way is Forward

As I was invited by a noted Syrian political writer Dr. Sami Moubayed to contribute to edition number one of "FW:" magazine, I was confident that this magazine will be something different coming from true lover of Syria like Sami himself and the publisher Abdulsalam Haykal!

The "FW:" deals with Syria’s business related issues, its domestic affairs, as well as its relations with the outside world. As its name implies, the magazine will focus on reform, carrying an optimistic and constructive tone. The general emphasis is economy and business, and the implications and interrelation with social, political, and international affairs.

I had many ideas and topics to write about, but I couldn't chose a better start than to write about my beloved "old Damascus".

Click to Enlarge

Here I quote some paragraphs from other articles I liked:

"…Unfortunately, the media business in our part of the world has to fall in one of two categories: pro or against government. While Forward will resist such categorization, we anticipate that some of our audience will be judging the magazine based on how "outspoken" it is to criticising the government. To be described as "outspoken" has so far been the credit for Syrian writers and publishers. For many long years, outspokenness was deficient (unless otherwise instructed) in state-controlled media. Looking today at newsstands any given day, one can see abundance of harsh headlines and confrontational content, in relative terms of course. However, what the Syrian media suffers from at present is the lack of objectivity, originality, and insight. That is what Forward will attempt to offer English speaking readers; often foreigners in Syria and abroad, including investors wanting to know how it is going back home. We are excited to start with another journey, where the only way is forward…"
"Even with hazards, Syria 's only way is forward" by Abdulsalam Haykal the publisher and editor of "FW:" magazine.

"… When I imagine the Syrian future, I see people debating the future in a hundreds cafes from Damascus to Aleppo to Latakia. I imagine a country that is networked so that to the internet – and the-life changing knowledge it provides – enters into every village, classroom and home. …"
"Imagining a new Syria" by David Ignatius an associate editor for the Washington Post.

"…For example, the website called " Syriapol – A Syrian Democracy Project", a public opinion portal designed to measure Syrian political attitudes toward governance, economic progress, democratic reforms, and the peace process, was blocked from view in Syria. Contrary to intuition, though, it was not the Syrian government that had censored the site, but rather the American company, a very popular webhosting service called GoDaddy.com, from whom the domain name had been purchased, which blocks anyone inside Syria from accessing any website that they register..."
"The silly side of sanctions" by George Ajjan an activist and member of the Arab American Institute's National Policy Council.

"… In the US, every commentator on every talk show tells us, "there are no good option for the US in Iraq . The best we can do is to pick the least and bad option. Any choice will harm us and will bring carnage to Iraq ." Again, these commentators are correct as far as they go. But they are looking in the wrong place for a solution. The source of the American problem in Iraq isn't in Iraq or even in the Middle East. The source of the American problem is American pride. The pride that insists that military power rather than human justice is the solution to every problem…"
"Pride, prejudice, and talking to Syria" by Scott C.Davis the author of The Road from Damascus: a journey through Syria. He is co-founder of Cune Press, a book publisher devoted to creating dialogue between Syrian and the US.

"… Shortly afterwards, I met many expatriate Syrian who had returned to spend Christmas in Damascus. They and us who decided to live in Syria by choice had endless debates about nation-building. More than ever, the expatriates were seriously thinking of returning home. More than ever, we were thinking of leaving. Strangely enough, the expatriate and Abdullah al-Khani were seeing something that many of those living in Syria could not see. It was: hope. Having said that, it is now time to move forward, as the name of the magazine implies. There is no way for Syria but forward…"
"Never give in" by Sami Moubayed


Saturday, September 30

A Snapshot of Ramadan

Busy markets (Old town) in Ramadan.


Saturday, September 23

Blessed Ramadan

"Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur-an, as a guide to mankind, also Clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong)..." The Quran [2 : 185]

May you be blessed with peace and happiness on Ramadan.

Ramadan Kareem


Wednesday, September 6

Should Visit Place

Bosra, Situated in the vast Hawran plain, some 145 kilometres south of Damascus. It is an extremely ancient city mentioned in the lists of Tutmose III and Akhenaten in the fourteenth century B.C.The first Nabatean city in the second century B.C., it bore the name Buhora, but during the Hellenistic period, it was known by the name of Bustra.Later the Romans took an active interest in the city, and at the time of the Emperor Trajan it was made the capital of the Province of Arabia (in 106 B.C.) and was called Neatrajana Bustra. The city saw its greatest period of prosperity and expansion then, became a crossroads on the caravan routes and the official seat and residence of the Imperial Legate. After the decline of the Roman Empire, Bosra played a significant role in the history of early Christianity. It was also Iinked to the rise of Islam, when a Nestorian monk called Bahira, who lived in
the city, met the young Muhammad when his caravan stopped at Bosra, and predicted his prophetic vocation and the faith he was going to initiate.
The oldest Islamic square minarets (still standing) are found in Bosra, whose prosperous role as an important halt for pilgrims on the way to Mecca lasted until the 17th century. The most interesting part of the city today is the famous Roman theatre built in the second century A.D., which seats 15 thousand spectators, and is considered one of the most beautiful and well-preserved of Roman amphitheatres in the world. The stage is 45 meters long and 8 meters deep. Every summer, it hosts Arab and international performers who entertain audiences during the Bosra Art Festival against a majestic background of Roman columns and arches. The city itself contains a great number of Roman ruins, a part of the Byzantine Bahira Church, as well as the al-Mabrak Mosque, which is said to have been erected on the site where the Prophet's camel stopped to rest. There is also the Omar Mosque(also called the al-Arouss Mosque), which is the only one of its type remaining from the early days of Islam, and it retains its 7th century primitive form. An important Muslim citadel, dating back to the Ayoubite and Mamluk period still stands, and one of its towers now houses a museum of Antiquities and Traditional Arts.

Source: Ministry Of Tourism


Monday, August 21

August Rain!

To rain in Damascus at this time of the year is a very strange thing to happen, especially during the hot weather we are having now, it is really unexpected rain, and a very weird weather and day!
Check Flickr for more pic here.


Tuesday, August 15


Engraved on this statue, the emblem of the Ottoman Empire appears on its southern part and the signature of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II appears on its northern part which can be seen clearly in the picture above. The monument is located in front of Ministry of Interior which was built in 1900 on the bank of Barda river close to Al-Marjeh Square, according to modern building standards which was distinct in the latest years of the Ottoman era.

If interested to know the words engraved on it, check the first comment below.


Monday, July 24

Two countries, one heart

I’m posting this post, not to brag nor to show off the Syrian government, but simply I am greatly touched by the human side and all the support, aid and assistance Syrians are showing.

I heard a lot of calls asking for more volunteers to help the Lebanese refugees, but I never really imagined the situation until I saw it myself... About 100,000 Lebanese have fled across the border into Syria with nothing in their pocket, no money, no clothes, no food and no nothing! Syria has welcomed them all providing shelters for them, many schools were emptied and turned into shelters too, I don’t want to turn this post into politics here, but I just want to shed light on the great job people are doing here, charity associations, normal people mostly housewives, collage students, and doctors all volunteered to help them, and to provide them with food, clothes, healthcare and even giving toys for their kids, a huge network of volunteering has really surprised me! All that cooperative great work gave me nothing but a real HOPE, I left the place feeling deeply happy inside, and like yeah we are here for each others.
PS. The Arabic sign says “We welcome our Lebanese sisters and brothers, your family in Syria”.
Su’ad, was pregnant in her forth month, she already has lost her baby because, she was deadly afraid of the Israeli attacks on her village.


Monday, July 10


The Arabian Oryx (al-Maha) were brought from Saudi Arabia in an effort to increase their numbers in the Syrian desert.
al-Maha are known by their beautiful eyes, that in some old Arabic poems the beauty of women’s eyes were compared to theirs.