Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Language Comblex!

I know that beoble in Syria have a little of English education in combarison to neighpouring countries! But, if we are not good at a language, why do we tend to use it as a luxury? When will we learn to pe broud of our language, and only use other languages for brofessional and educational burboses!? It's a common broblem.
For example, They keeb proadcasting English commercials on Syrian Radio stations! Well, if the audience is Syrian, why do we bromote, for instance, to a pupple gum in English? Are they targeting English sbeaking audience? They won't pe listening to an Arabic radio station anyway, will they?

Good knowledge of other languages is an essential asset nowadays! But only a brober knowledge, where we broberly sbeak , bronounce and write, is counted! Moreover, it should pe used only when needed not as a tool of "showing-off"!
For those who like to show-off with their language apilities! Blease use a sbell checker, otherwise, you will end ub looking like this guy who sbelled "Torbo" instead of "Turbo" on the window of his car!!!!

God pless you all ;)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

My new personal Blog!

I just had my new Blog published, it's been online for a couple of days but I just added my own themes and made it accessible!
I created it cuz I don't want to use this Blog for my personal thoughts, I wanna keep it for Syrian issues only! While the new one which is named
"My Thoughts & Notes"...will be as a personal diary!

Let's see how things go!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

It whispers, do we listen?

Along sides, civilizations flourished and collapsed. People cheered victories and others mourned losses. They are all gone while it still to exist. It witnessed their births and deaths and now it lives to tell us their stories.

I, one day, listened; it whispered, it told me a story about Palmyrians and their Queen Zenobia, a story that was new to me. I knew they dared the Romans, but not to the level of building up two cities on its banks, Halabiya & Zalabiya.

They were built to control the traffic on the Euphrates and as a forward defense line against the Persians.

These two cities prospered and flourished during Zenobia’s ruling era; a normal consequence of being part of the Kingdome.

Surrounded by walls dated back to the Byzantine time, these locations had towers, gates, churches, baths and some houses, in addition to the governor's 3 floors residence.

It later was in the grasp of the Romans who enhanced it and re-built its walls that had been knocked down during battles.

It also told me, with a choke in the throat, how neglected these cities have become. The walls that one day defended Zenobia, have become a place for people to write their names and souvenirs of passing by! No facilities whatsoever, neither the cities nor their visitors are being taken care of! The cities are now deader than they were after every successful invasion.

I had to blur my friends' faces as I didn't ask for permission to post their photos; and because Omar, Hassan, Hamoud, Mahmoud, Taher, Sharif, Mohsen, Talal, Ahmad, George, Taha, Ali, Jamal and Abu-Dirgham had their names carved on the wall in this photo, and that's too many people for one photo!

If you are ever passing by the river, please listen to it, it will not only tell you the story of the place like nobody else, but also, it will peg you to keep the memory of the visit in your head or your photo album, not on the ancient walls! Please!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

I hate you....Damascus!

I will stop loving you if you do not stop smoking! No, I already hate you…. I hate your smell and I hate your foggy look, what happened to you? Why the negligence? Look at the huge cloud of smoke over you!

After all what we had? You have become careless. I loved your smell before, I loved the green bracelet you had around you and I adored the line of tears that used to go through you, where have they gone? No more Jasmine, no more Ghouta and no more Barada…..

You were never abandoned! I never have! But I will…..

I cannot love you anymore, I cannot face the people who made you become as you are nowadays, remember how much troubles loving you has put me through? I was named betrayer just because I said they are not bringing you up the way they should, I was named so many names, I was called infidel of traditions and society by the elderly when I said that we need to get you a new modern dress and keep your old one clean and saved!

I can say it out and lout, I loved you for your beauty, I loved you for your look and I loved you for your dignified past….. But look at yourself now, you are becoming ugly and you are losing your heritage and wealth! I cannot recognize you anymore, you are stranger to me, and thus, I cannot love you!

Look at you!....look at these random buildings that house me and all my beloved ones, look at those small streets and alleys that once had the footsteps of great people and maybe still do, look at these mosques and churches, they were the places that held our voices asking for forgiveness, happiness and prosperity, look at yourself!...........Oh, Damascus, I think I lied, I can never hate you... You will always be my sweetheart no matter how you look and smell cuz to me, you are always my sweet home, Damascus!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Almighty vs. Almighty = life / human vs. human = ?

Water & fire, the earth’s two almightiest contradictive entities! Merge together everyday, one goes inside the other, one hides the other, one swallows the other, and one lightens the other giving it colors. One can evaporate the other, but it simply does not. One can put the other off, but, again, it does not! They co-exist in complete harmony.

Why don’t we learn the lesson of co-existence despite our differences from these two entities? We have no major differences, we are all humans, and we are all made of flesh! So why can't we?

Those two entities have existed for millions of years, just because they are not meant to terminate each other.... and neither we are! When will we, the humans, learn the lesson and ensure that none of us erase the other, none of us hides the other and all of us understand the mere fact that we all have the same rights.

A simple question!
Who has the answer? Definitely not me…. Do you?

Photo taken from famous Abu-Sa'eed Fish Restaurant outside of Lattakia.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Why did he do it??

The truth unveiled......

The capture of Saone Castle, one of the most impregnable Crusader Fortress, was one of the milestones that highlighted the life of Saladin. This difficult capture was a mystery to many people! Why would he take such a risk? One could say: because of its strategic location that was first used by the Phoenicians a thousand years before! It's true, but it's not only "it".......

Saladin would not simply put a fortress under siege for 4 months and bring 6 mangonels (catapult-like war engines), that can hurl stone balls weighing up to 270 kilos, just because of the very "obvious" reason. There must have been another reason!

A thorough look into history does not give a clear answer, however, a closer look at this photo explains it all! He could not resist not having this heaven-alike view from the window of his castle? Could you?

This fortress was recently named after Saladin to commemorate its capture in 1188 AD (it had been in the Crusader's hands for one century). As late as 1965, it was impossible to reach except on foot or horse back by a difficult climb, first downhill and then up again after crossing a stream.

The small photo on the right shows the stream that must be crossed in order to reach the castle if not accessed from the main and only entrance .

The second photo on the left shows how people used to reach the castle before 1965, when the government padded a road around the mountains and made it accessible by cars. (My friend Wael is in this photo, we can see how tired he was after few hours of climbing ;-)

The last photo in this post is a zoom-in to the lake that can be seen from the castle! Homsi historians say that Saladin used to use this lake for fishing and water-skiing.

I hope I shed some light on this important castle and revealed some unknown truths!


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"The story of Barada……."

It’s born in Al-Zabadani valley, few tens of meters from the spot where this photo was taken. On the way to Damascus, it mixes with Al-Fijeh river (The main source of drinking water in Damascus). This river has not reached its end, Outaiba lake (Eastern countryside of Damascus), for tens of years now, it always runs dry before it gets there.
Local peasants of Al-Assmieh and Outaiba area have built their homes inside the location of the forgotten lake.....

I believe the river misses its home, just like we all do!


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Finding what I'm really into!!!

Just like any young man, I always tried to search for activities that would make me have real fun. So I hit the road of adventures and start looking for myself….

I always heard of camping, always seen it on TV, read about it, but never really done it. It seemed a good start. I started sniffing around to know what it takes to do some camping……I was given a whole list of equipments, tents, sleeping bags and a lot of others stuff….man, what if I get them and don't like it! What am I gonna do? Luckily, I have some smart friends, who suggested that we go for one night camping but we never sleep, we stay awake all night. By doing so, we need no tent nor sleeping bags! We collected some items, (tea cattle, some food, a radio) and went to a mountain near an area called Ashrafiet Al-Wadi…. We gathered woods, lots of it, set up the fire…….and stared at it for hours!
It was the first time to discover how boring myself and my friends are! Man, this was the longest and most boring night EVER! Do we look like we were having fun in the photo?I’m not into camping I guess!

Next time, I decided to try hiking, since we have no wild animals, it would be fun! I went with my school friend Hosni, we joined a group of hikers, it was near Kassab. We headed with the group to a beach that is only accessed by going around a mountain on a very narrow road over a cliff!
We hiked for 2 hours before we reached the beach…hmmm, just like any other beach I had ever seen in my life, except, the other ones have some facilities! We got there; we found out that we didn’t bring our bathing suit or any drinking water! I carried a huge hiking backpack and believe me, I had all sort of crap and not one single useful thing! Come on...nobody told me that I won’t be needing my laptop nor my darts board! Duh!
It was a horrible experiment…..we stayed for like 15 minutes before we decided to head back or we would have died out of thirst! So, again, I’m not into hiking.

This was taken on our way back, Hosni was really not happy with this whole outdoor activity thingy, he was dizzy a bit, and as far as I remember, this was the last time I ever saw him! I don't recall seeing him in the bus that day! That makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Finally, I found myself…. I was aware that I’m not into outdoor activities, and found out that I really like foosball……it’s so exciting, competitive, challenging, fun, yet you never get sweated and can be played in a cold room with a cold drink! and I still managed to win…Hooray!


EAT! Do not let the view distract you……..

I have been to the Umayyad mosque in Damascus hundreds of times. I got to see it from all sides and angles. It’s something unique, it gives you a special feeling of coziness. The scene of the pigeons flying here and there adds even a greater aroma of sacredness accumulated over hundreds of years of being one of the most important attractions in Damascus.

Recently, we have been able to see this mosque from a different angle, thanks to a restaurant called “Laila’s'. Even though the menu, if you sit at the roof part of this restaurant, is somehow poor, compared to the menu of the inner parts, but the view explains why! You won’t be thinking of what to eat, all what you will be doing up there is admiring the view of the mosque. There is no camera can capture the whole view that your eye can see, or at least I cannot afford the cameras that do so :-

The evening will pass slowly and pleasantly (depending on your company of course), the only disturbance you will come across is the bill. By the time you decide to leave, you will notice that you have eaten nothing and your friends have come over all the food (mainly Saj) Yet, you will have to pay your share of the bill! “It’s not fair” I said! “Well, c’est la vie mon ami!” they answered!

At least, I came back home with a great photo that I enjoy looking at as if the evening has not ended nor the bill ever came!


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Are you breaking the door of this ancient Palace?

I'm home tonight, don't feel like going I will be a bit active in here..... This is Kassr Al-Hirr Al-Sharki (The Eastern Heer Palace).... It's located around 100 Kilometer north-east of Palmyra...... in the middle of nowhere, we drove for like a couple of hours in the desert...nothing but a road and a desert ...and when I say nothing.... it's NOTHING!

Eventually, we arrived at the Palace, it was cool to see it in the middle of nothing! it stood alone.

We left the bus and took photos and stuff, unfortunately, the door was locked, so we visited the open part.... it was enough actually.

Yet.... 15 minutes later and a motorcycle arrived with a local guy, he said he was the Ministry of Tourism guy for this area! He wanted to sell us tickets, 25 Lira per person, we agreed if he opened the door for us. He said that he had forgotten the keys, so he opened a huge pocket on the side of his bike and took a metal hammer and wanted to break the lock!!
We were Ok with that, however, the non-Syrians with us (Canadians) were really shocked! "Are you breaking the door of this ancient Palace?" was fun..hehe...anyway, a friend of us tried to knock the lock but we stopped him right after the first hit..... yet, I managed to take a photo of that little "Syrian style site-seeing".....

The guy with the Mexican hat is Sinan, the short one is the Official Curator of that Palace! The third guy, I don't really remember, maybe someone passing by ;-)

By the way, the Palace was built by the Caliph Hisham in 628 Hijri and it has the oldest Omayad bath ever..


My lovely Damascus as seen through my eyes from the top of Kassion........

Whenever I feel down and stressed, whenever I realize how tough it is to be a dreamer in Damascus.....I, simply, go to Kassion and see the very same view, then, everything changes, life becomes much prettier and easier, dreams seem to becoming true, love seems real, deception seems to vanish! .......... Until I go down back again and everything gets back to the way it had been before, alas.

Life goes on, I guess :-

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Coming up soon....... my blog!

I've come across many blogs already, I think it's cool..... if we keep them updated. I had in mind to create an e-diary for myself, so I guess this should do it.... It's also a great chance to share some photos that I took, some stuff that I have lived and experienced and stuff that are yet to come...