Saturday, February 16, 2008

Goodbye Hiz Bully

I wonder how much market research Coca Cola did when it decided to start this campaign of female Arab singers dressed like American housewives from the 50's. Probably not much.

We all heard the big explosion echo around the city last week at around 11:00 pm, but the local news reported a gas truck had blown up and nobody was hurt. It continued with that story until evening the next day when every Arab newspaper in the world reported that a Hizb leader was martyred in Damascus and their denial was starting to look ridiculous. In 2004 another Hizb guy got blown up in a car bomb as well, but people don't get concerned here, they know that when this type of thing happens the target is some high profile leader and the goal isn't general destruction of human life like in Iraq or even in America (latest University massacre, for ex). At first it Israel's fault, then the CIA, but now, experts on the Arab news channels agree that it could have been pretty much anybody, and one guy on Al-Arabiya even told off all of the Arab media for jumping to the same conclusion (zionist-American conspiracy) every time something happens.

The picture to the right is the latest mess in the old-city reconstruction project, they hit some water pipes while digging and have had to dig deeper and deeper and now there's this gaping hole about 100 ft. deep in the middle of one of the main roads with broken electric and water pipes sticking out, and some of the nearby shops are starting to lose thier floors and foundations as they cave in. They've dug down so far they've uncovered an old roman temple, and there are columns sticking out of the dirt all over the bottom, but the tractors have destroyed most of them, and the rest they're just going to cover right back up once they're done fixing the water. You really can't turn over a stone in this part of the world without exposing something ancient, but nobody has the money, time, or even interest in excavating it.

I finished filming this video for a new Syrian Arabic book after three 18 hour days in a row. It was mind-numbingly cold and tedious, but I got to meet a lot of famous people and make a lot of new friends. Below is a picture of us filming in one of the big famous Arabic houses in the Souk Sarouja area where they film the majority of the Syrian soap operas.

I also went to the huge Shia graveyard just south of the old city where there are a bunch of the Shia leader Hussein's daughters buried as well as a number of important Turkish sufis. It was filled with highly emotional Iranian tourists as well as a large number of Mongolian Muslims, who I thought were supposed to be Sunni?? I'm not sure they really knew where they were, but not to be left out they cried and wailed at the tombs along with the rest of them.

Here's a good article on Damascus from the Washington Post, as well as some great 360 views of a bunch of sites from 360 views of Syria. My family visiting in March will not be able to see these famous sights, as I've planned a much more interesting week-long tour of the botany of the Syrian countryside, which I'm sure they'll enjoy much more. Check out the new Alexa video in the video column - Alexa in Syria.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Trent! I miss you! I'm sorry that I haven't left comments on your blog...but I do check it often. It looks like you guys are having non stop adventures. I'm jealous. I'm glad that you three have stayed safe. I worry about you guys over there. So you come back in June? I'll be excited to see you guys. Little Alexa is getting so big and she's so cute. Stay out of the gypsy area! You're crazy. Live in a mud hut...geesh.
Much Love, Rach