The Walls Have Ears

Professor Jacobson is plugging a new blog by a U.S. student studying abroad in Syria.  It is quite interesting, so I thought I would plug it here as well. 

His latest post is about “indolent bureaucracy, squat toilets, and presidential personality cults,” and well worth reading.  Corruption and sloth in bureaucracy have a huge impact on the economic prosperity — or more precisely, the lack thereof — of the nations that allow them to run rampant and are good indicators of societal malaise.

An earlier post concludes like this:

Every night I return to my room, open the curtains, and gaze out into the park behind our building. There, unmarried young men and women (often wearing the hijab) sit together quietly in couples, spaced out by 20 yards or so. These are Muslim men and women my age, sharing some alone time with the person they love. And it is completely forbidden – by religion, by tradition, and sometimes by law – for these youths to spend time together without the supervision of family members. But out there, in the park, there seems to be an unspoken rule of silence among the couples, a camaraderie among those who break the rules in the name of something higher. Call it cliché, call me melodramatic, but this is Syria: stop thinking about President Assad for a moment, or Hezbollah in the South, or internet control, or riots in Egypt, or whatever associations you may have with “The Middle East.” There’s more to it than that.

Americans all have a lot to learn about the Middle East.  Check it out.

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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