The Author

I am an anthropologist and ethnomusicologist who studies the musics of the Arab World, with a special emphasis on Syria. I’ve spent a lot of time in Syria, primarily in Damascus and Aleppo, and have traveled throughout most of the country and gotten to know a wide variety of Syrians, many of whom I have the privilege of considering friends.

It is my wish with this collection of stories to bring some humanity into our understanding of Syria today to evoke the rich, complex, sometimes contradictory, but nonetheless fascinating tapestry of everyday life in a land inhabited by wonderfully complex (and sometimes contradictory) people. In other words, people like you and me.

Although I try to avoid direct political writing (at least 99% of all contemporary writing on Syrian in any language has been political), astute readers will find much of relevance to the contemporary situation in these lines, or by reading between them. Moreover, as an American I consider it a political act to write honestly and positively about a place that generally is misunderstood or cast in the negative. As an educator I see it as my obligation to speak out against ignorance and injustice. May these stories reach well beyond the confines of the academy to open more eyes if not hearts to the humanity of Syria and its many peoples.

For Syrians, both those currently in Syria and those many who live outside her boundaries, may this collection serve as a reminder of the beauty of your homeland as seen through my eyes, heard through my ears, and embraced with my heart.


4 thoughts on “The Author”

  1. My name is Jaime Ortega and just graduated from the School of Journalism at Ohio State University.

    I am building a community of experts from all over the world from different specialized fields, to create a knowledge bond. I want this site to be the number one in the world!

    I wanted to include you in our The Daily Journalist Club., we require a bare minimum of 3 articles per month.

    As a community, we have activities to educate the public and debate current issues. For example, we have a section coming up called “El Cafe” which we ask a current question to our community related with a present topic, and we publish all the replies in our web. This is voluntary participation, but all experts are invited to post their answers, since we have a great community.

    I saw your blog has some topics related with Syria. And wanted to give you the opportunity to show your opinion to a broader audience of experts as we grow.

    We only write about politics, government, business, finances, social media, and journalism.

    The only thing we require is a small bio about your expertise and accomplishments in the About Us section, and a professional thumbnail picture as seen in the link bellow (in the bio you may include your personal blog-spot link and any books you published). Its for credibility purposes, also if a reader checks your bio, he or she, may also see a link to your personal blog and check more articles.

    Would you like to be part of our community?
    Please, let me know as soon as possible.

    Jaime Ortega
    The Daily Journalist – President

    • I rarely write on politics (directly) since my blog is mainly literary and I have suspended the postings until the Fall due to my overseas travel schedule. Thanks for the offer!

  2. Hi, I’ve really enjoyed looking at your blog especially all the observations about day-to-day life. I’m writing a short story at the moment set in Damascus, which I visited a couple of years ago and I want to be as accurate as I can. I realise you must be very busy, but would it be possible to run a couple of details past you? Any help much appreciated



    • Hi,
      Thanks for your note. I haven’t updated the blog in a while. Too many other projects on at the moment, but I plan to start up volume II soon!
      Feel free to send me any queries about Damascus. I’ll do my best to answer them.

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