The Killing Fields

Stepping out of the minibus I staggered trying to stamp my feet on the side of the road, exhaust fumes and dust swirled as the bus left me, the four or was it five hours scrunched up at the back had cut the blood supply to my legs and now I was  stumbling like an…

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Oman And The Turtle

A loggerhead turtle scampers frantically towards the sea, her cumbersome shell not designed for beach sprinting, the dawn light now illuminating the protective cove but it’s not only the light that has stirred her into such inelegant action so much as the camera-phone wielding tourists in hot pursuit; coming out at night to lay her…

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Siwa, City of Sand

Maher shuffled his way into the coffee-shop sneezing, coughing and complaining, his flip-flops hardly lifting from the dusty floor as he moved, I’m sick he announced to the waiter who didn’t look away from the TV, he sneezed again to prove his point. In Egypt the cure for the common cold is Helba a herbal…

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Welcome to Vulture Town

It’s the land of Orpheus and serpents and dancing trees, and where the landscape has been carved by dragons

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Abandoned in Idlib

Atmeh camp clings to the side of a hill on the edge of the Syrian-Turkish border. Colored plastic bags flap like flags trapped in the rolls of razor wire that separate the two countries. Turkish soldiers watch from a guard post on the hill above. And just to be clear, Atmeh camp is on the…

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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…

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Syria, Nine Grueling Years

Sitting in silence on a red sofa, gaze transfixed to a muted tv. January 2011. I had hardly left that sofa just watching history unfold via al Jazeera, this time I was squeezed between Syrian friends with tears in their eyes. We were in Syria and the revolution was in Egypt and of all the…

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The Rubbish Collectors of Istanbul

Faceless men and women, struggling up rain soaked cobbled hills clogged with traffic. Faces windswept and facing the floor. Ignored and cursed in equal measure. These wretched images as iconic in Istanbul as the minarets and monuments, stealthy tourists will often try and snap them as they haul a burlap load past shops with shelves…

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Black Sea

Black Sea At that (Homeric) time, the sea was not navigable and was called Axenos (inhospitable) because of its wintery storms and the tribes that lived around it, and in particularly the Sythians in that they sacrificed strangers… But later it was called Euxeinos (friendly to strangers) when the Ionians founded cities on the seaboard.…

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The Cowboys Of Cappadocia

Strabo must have scrambled his way to the peak of Erciyes, one of the Volcanoes that surround the tectonic crossroads of Cappadocia in the heart of Anatolian Turkey, scribbling in his ancient notebook he could see both the Black sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south, he was less than three hundred…

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