I wish I could write something funny about Syria, but what's taking place in that country right now is incredibly sad.
After eleven months of uprising, fighting has spread to gorgeous Damascus where so many artists and academics have stayed at the Danish Institute, working on their books, art, and projects. The old part of the capital is one of the most fascinating places I have visited in my life, and I loved the Syrians who are a warm and generous people.
Parts of my two latest novels, Skorpionens Hale and Zarens dværg (The Tsar's Dwarf, Hawthorne Books) were written at the institute in Souq Madhat Basha, close to the beautiful Umayyad mosque. It's hard not to be inspired when you "have to" walk through 1001 Nights just to get a shawarma. "Welcome," was the greeting everywhere, and you actually did feel welcome in Damascus where St. Paul got his visions two millennia ago.
So this post is a small homage of pictures from my three Syrian visits where I met so many warm and helpful people. I hope they're doing well right now, but I doubt it. The Assad regime has always been brutal, and unfortunately it's showing its true colors to the world right now.
May Allah be with every single Syrian who wants to live a life in freedom and peace!
All photos copyright by Peter H. Fogtdal, Danish Accent.
Blog entry from my latest stay in Damascus in 2007, Damascus Is A Dream But Lesbians Are Not Allowed