So at the time of writing it’s been over two-and-a-half years since the Arab Spring – supposedly started via Facebook and supposedly ignited to change the region for the better – went viral and spread across North Africa and the Middle East like wildfire. A Tunisian man by the name of Mohamad Bouazizi set himself on fire out of frustration. Libyan colonel Muammar Gaddafi was killed (no loss there), and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak was ousted. Oh, and Syria went to hell in a handbasket.
Ah, revolution in the Middle East. A real clusterfuck.
Flashback to 2007
I had the opportunity to visit Syria in 2007. That year was a good one for yours truly, Loyal Reader. I “celebrated” seven years as an Angeleno and seven years in my job as a media researcher. The job had begun to wear on me, but I was making a good wage and had somehow turned three weeks of paid vacation into double that. (It was the only benefit that was worth a toss, and it would be taken from me the following year.) Travel for the year had already taken me to Cancun; Barrow, Alaska (!); China, Norway, Iceland, and Seattle. Thanksgiving was coming up and I knew I had to outdo myself. A college friend and long-time travel buddy mentioned that he had a friend from Germany who had recently been posted to the German Embassy in Damascus of all places.