The Enigma of Damascus

By JAMES BENNET – New York Times

Ammar Abdulhamid, 39,  runs the Tharwa Project, which tracks treatment of minorities in the region. He  had a fellowship at the Brookings Institution in Washington last fall, and he  has decorated his Damascus office with photographs from his walk to work along  Connecticut Avenue. One shows the American flag through the bare limbs of trees.  When I stopped by, he called the regime ”defunct” and the Baathists ”idiots”  and ”morons” while we were still settling into our seats. He saw no  alternative in civil society either. ”They all want a leader or a messiah,” he  said. He did not advocate ”bloody revolution,” he said. But he also said that  the civil strife accompanying regime change in Iraq might be the only way  forward in the region. ”Stagnation is killing our souls and our minds,” he  said. ”Hopefully, this baptism by blood and mayhem will teach us to cherish the  liberties.”


A Prophet in Idlib!

No, this part of the world, this blessed plot, this realm, this Syria, has not forgotten that old habit of churning out prophets yet. One, in fact, has recently been taken out of his jail cell (and where would a prophet end up this day in age?) just to intercede with his followers, held in a different prison, calling for the release of that prison’s warden, whom they had taken hostage.  Continue reading “A Prophet in Idlib!”

Malgré tout!

In terms of details, no one can tell for sure what is happening in the country at this stage. The regime continues to arrest and clash with militants. Or, are they just glorified smugglers? Or is the regime turning against its erstwhile protégés because they outlived their usefulness? Or is there an internal clash and settling of old and new scores within the ranks of the regime? Or are all these things happening together and at the same time? No one really knows.  Continue reading “Malgré tout!”

A Necessary (?) Interlude of Self-Pity!

Or… “A few disjointed thoughts by a fragmented man!”


Who am I?
What is my worth?
How shall I be judged, when the day comes and I am to be judged?
Who will stand in judgment over me? You, my love? Will I be so lucky?
Whose judgment should matter the most to me anyway, – I the one who “inspires” strangers and hurts the ones he loves.  Continue reading “A Necessary (?) Interlude of Self-Pity!”