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A Requiem for Syria
December 13, 2012 9:34 PM   Subscribe

The Land of Topless Minarets and Headless Little Girls: A Requiem for Syria.

This is a repost of this thread. Thanks to unliteral for finding a reliable link.
posted by homunculus (20 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

Previously: Life and death in Aleppo, Syria.
posted by homunculus at 9:35 PM on December 13, 2012

17-year-old Syrian risks life to rescue: While in Aleppo, Arwa Damon gets exclusive footage of a Syrian during his act of heroism in rescuing a sniper victim.
posted by homunculus at 9:39 PM on December 13, 2012

Aleppo's winter of discontent: As the conflict in Syria enters a second winter, the BBC's Ian Pannell reports from the Syrian city of Aleppo on the struggle for survival of ordinary people.
posted by homunculus at 9:40 PM on December 13, 2012

That was an incredible essay.
posted by BinGregory at 9:54 PM on December 13, 2012

Oh. A glitch in the Matrix...
posted by alex_skazat at 10:17 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are thousands of amazing videos coming out of this war.

Take a ride with al-Nusra after they just looted a regime base. They are the newly minted offshoot of al Qaeda in Iraq, can tell by the all-black robes and headbands. Mad Max dump trunk with gun-ports. Drama in the streets. Through the ruins of the ages.
posted by stbalbach at 11:40 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Kit W at 3:43 AM on December 14, 2012

If you are having trouble getting past the popup to register: Click on the register by twitter link and then don't grant authorization and close that window. You'll be good to go after that.
posted by Brent Parker at 5:23 AM on December 14, 2012

stbalbach: ". Mad Max dump trunk yt with gun-ports."

Man, they say "Allah akbar" like I say "fuck" on a bad day!
posted by notsnot at 5:25 AM on December 14, 2012

Man, they say "Allah akbar" like I say "fuck" on a bad day!

You realize that the last time we were watching videos of young men chanting "allahu akbar" with weapons, they were using those weapons on Americans.

Which is just to say, that when it serves our interests we will fight with Al Qaeda on our side. Those young men with beards chanting as they fight are freedom fighters just like they used to be in Afghanistan before they became the targets for our drones. Later they too will be our enemies again when it serves "our" interests and we'll just watch it all on youtube.
posted by at 6:10 AM on December 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

I saw the video of the woman shot in the street being dragged to cover. I was angered and saddened. But then I thought about how much of a clusterfuck every attempt to intervene in the Middle East has been and I just don't know what to feel.
posted by tommasz at 6:10 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Syria breaks my heart. Such a beautiful place. An undiscovered land that may now never be discovered.

I have a world traveler friend who was in Syria in 2010. She's a sweet old lady. After her report, I too wanted to go to Syria but I waited too long. Here are some excerpts from her email to us then (apologies in advance to the Jordanians!):

From there we went over the border, through five passport controls, to Syria and the ancient Roman town of Bosra. It was constructed of basalt and so is a distinctive dark grey sooty color. But people still live there and we met them. They really impressed us, right from the first, with their interest in us, their jolly dispositions and light-heartedness. It was such a change from Jordan. And the children, they were funny and adorable playing about everywhere and having fun with us. And their ancient amphitheater is magnificent and still used.

By about 6:00pm that day we were at our hotel in Damascus ... we had the best time- finding our own way about. Helen, Bob (one of the new additions to our group) and I took off for a trek to find Syrian money and any food. It took some doing, but we found both and laughing all the way back to our hotel. We were introduced the next morning to a marvelous tour guide, also, alas, temporary: Hussein Hussein. If you’re ever in Damascus, look him up. I have his card. He teaches English Lit at the University, and is extremely informative and funny. He took us through the National Museum, the souq and the Azem, or Governor’s Palace and Omayyad Mosque (I am in a cover-up to visit the mosque and Saladin's tomb), then shared a taxi with me and Helen back to the hotel.

[The Syrians] just like people and tourists, and are especially welcoming to Americans. ... I am saying that I just LOVE Syria. And still more surprises were in store. Jordan was dry, desert, dusty, very dusty with little relief. Our trip the next day to Maaloula and a long visit to Krak (Kurdish for castle) des Chevaliers, which T.E. Lawrence called the most perfect castle in the world, took us through a change in the scenery. This part of Syria is lush green, emerald and velvety looking. Beautiful. Incredibly rich farmlands, beautifully cultivated. And the roads are better than Jordan’s, and the food! In Jordan everything tasted of cumin- everything. Here it tastes like food and the meals are abundant with gorgeous vegetables, cheeses and mostly lamb and beef, though I’ve seen goat in the markets. It is a very healthful lifestyle.

On the 15th we visited Afamia and Hama on the way to Aleppo. Afamia, or Aphamia, is an ancient city built by a general of Alexander the Great’s army and named after his wife. It is, again, very extensive though it lies in almost total ruin due mostly to earthquakes- and it is older than the Roman cities. It was once a very important stop on the Silk Road. Which brings us to where we are right now: Aleppo. I love this place. It has so much character, the people are wonderful, and there is so much to poke around in and see, so much of it remains unchanged over the ages. Syria is a mix of nationalities- everyone has come through or conquered here – and religions, all of which, the 3 monotheistic ones anyway, are treated with equal respect, though inter-faith marriage is frowned upon. And the situation of women is fascinating and complicated. Yes, most are veiled, some completely, but even they are not in the least stand-offish.

posted by vacapinta at 8:10 AM on December 14, 2012 [5 favorites] when it serves our interests we will fight with Al Qaeda on our side. Those young men with beards chanting as they fight are freedom fighters just like they used to be in Afghanistan before they became the targets for our drones. Later they too will be our enemies again when it serves "our" interests and we'll just watch it all on youtube.

Quoted for truth. And for inevitability. Not only do we fail to learn the lessons of history, we don't even think it through to say "This time it'll be different..." No, we just plunge right in.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:24 AM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Vacapinta, thanks for sharing that. It's sad to think that a jolly, welcoming, unreserved culture might be changed for good after years of infighting, and a beautiful landscape with unique historic buildings ruined for both natives and visitors. Makes all of the articles about Syria, which make the situation sound irreparable, all the more poignant.
posted by gusandrews at 8:36 AM on December 14, 2012

I always thought it wasn't possible to write in words, especially if they were beautiful, without it being lies, not like the truth of the pain, but this person can do it.
posted by maiamaia at 10:24 AM on December 16, 2012

'No winner' in Syrian conflict, says VP: Farouq al-Sharaa, the country's vice-president, concedes that neither side can win the conflict, as violence continues.
posted by homunculus at 10:41 AM on December 17, 2012

Richard Engel and NBC News team freed from captors in Syria
posted by homunculus at 9:30 AM on December 18, 2012

Rubble and Despair of War Redefine Syria Jewel
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:23 AM on December 19, 2012

U.S. Officials Doubt Syrian Rebels’ Chemical Attack Claim
posted by homunculus at 9:58 AM on December 25, 2012

Data Dive Reveals 15,000 New Victims of Syria War
posted by homunculus at 11:11 AM on January 4, 2013

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