I’m staying in New York at the moment, but rather than blog about America, I’d like to do a series of short posts about Syria. Specifically, how well I felt I was treated by Syrians: the acts of generosity and kindness that I experienced week after week. Things certainly aren’t perfect in the country, but given how Syria seems to be imagined in the English speaking world (terrorists, America-hating protesters etc), these little pieces are aimed at doing something to right the balance.
- I arrived in Damascus late one night, trying to visit a doctor in the city centre before it was time to meet friends. I knew I’d found the right street, but my phone’s battery was dead, and I needed to confirm exactly where the clinic was. I went into a telephone and accessories shop, and asked, in my bad Arabic, if I could recharge my phone. It was a narrow, long shop, and the man behind the counter shrugged, took the phone and charger from me, plugged it in and gestured that I could go down to the desk at the far end and sit with his colleagues. I sat with them, and they made me a cup of tea and chatted to me in Arabic and broken English – one of them had been to London once, and thought it was a beautiful city. I had to refuse a second cup of tea before they allowed me to leave.