Was buying a house in Syria the brightest decision I have ever made-obviously the answer to that question will not surprise anyone. I do get quite a few questions on this particular chapter of my life, so without this turning into a guide to buying property in the Syrian Arab Republic I will just mention…Read More
All articles filed in Damascus Diary Archive
I lived in Damascus ten years, I didn’t keep a day by day diary just notes scribbled from time to time, the last two years or so since the revolution in Syria started I feel now these notes are more telling, leaving Damascus suddenly and with only the bags I could carry much was left in my house, photographs and note books among many other treasured possessions but I will try to post what I can from what I have available and in no particular order.
In Search of a Smile
I was in the partial state of not knowing if I was awake or still dreaming; it had been another fitful uncomfortable night, mostly involving a donkey braying and the snores and snorting of Ibrahim, or, to be fair, that could also have been the donkey, either way, I was now fully aware that someone…Read More
At a Loss in the Land of Nimrod
The prostitute fidgeted uncomfortably beside me, her knee brushing mine, a glass of tea, and a cigarette in the same hand. The sound of the police radio a constant crackle of an unintelligible code, the chaotic room bathed in neon blue as another squad car passed the tiny window. I took another deep breath and…Read More
My Short Lived Career Smuggling Art
I’d been avoiding Ahmed all week; he needed to speak to me. I didn’t need to speak to him. If the shop was busy and he had customers I would be able to slip past without him seeing me, I hurried my pace; I risked a glance into the shop and couldn’t see him, then…Read More
Eye Spy in Damascus
Finding more time on my hands than one would realistically hope for I delved into the dusty recesses of long forgotten cardboard boxes and started re-reading books that have languished for the last seventeen years; they were all kept for a reason, quarantined due to pandemic not being one of them. They were books that…Read More
I’m not a violent man, but I punched him in the face.
It was one of those biting cold Damascus winter mornings, it had been snowing and the streets were sluiced in slush, I had been living in Mohajarin on the slopes of Jebal Qasioun, I splashed in and out of the dirty puddles as I trudged down the towards the Citadel and the Old city, I…Read More
Syria, a country torn apart by a relentless war, five years of disturbing headlines, dreadful imagery, chemical weapons and a refugee crisis not seen since the Second World War: this is what we know of Syria. Brutal media headlines reducing innocent people seeking peace and security to mere statistics and derogatory adjectives. Individual stories and…Read More
The First Bombs in Damascus
I never bought vegetables from his shop, I’d pass by several times a day and would always say hello, always promising myself to buy something from him one day, I never did, there were lots of similar shops and some even closer to my house. Did he mind I often wondered? Those first days of…Read More
Sadness in Syria, Hama.
Faisal was the first Syrian friend I made on my first ever visit, he was also the first friend I lost in the war; I made many more friends and lost more too. My first visit to Syria must be some twenty years ago now, only my diaries lost in my Mothers cavernous loft have…Read More
The Pigeon Men Of Damascus
One of my enduring memories of living in Damascus will always be the early morning ritual of my neighbor’s pigeon’s swoop and circle above my house. While I sip coffee on my rooftop he would wave and whistle at his birds, even when the war started they continued to fly, they still do. The formation…Read More