Friday, July 14, 2006

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Well, what I've done is to move into my new house and try to get settled. My daughter is in New York waiting for her visa to clear so that she can find work and apply for grad school. My son just finished working here in Cairo and decided to take a cheap holiday before heading back to the US for grad school in Boston, so he and his girlfriend headed off to Syria, a country that he'd visited on a business trip a while back. He's been to Greece, Cyprus, and Lebanon, but said that Syria was truly an unappreciated jewel. We listened to stories about the landscape, the architecture, the food and the people...I was impressed. So off they flew to Damascus, where they spent a couple of days before heading north to Aleppo to visit crusader castles.

That was before Israel began bombing Lebanon again. The kids weren't even aware that the situation had gotten that hot until I sent them a message to make sure that they were okay. So now they are sitting in Aleppo waiting to see what tomorrow brings. Fortunately a young friend of ours is with the Egyptian embassy and is in touch with them. Right now, the friend is on the Lebanese border helping Egyptian refugees from Lebanon who are trying to escape the Israeli bombing. There is concern that with all the support from the US, Israel will feel safe enough to bomb infrastructure targets in Damascus tomorrow or the next day, which will make it pretty hard for the kids to make their Tuesday flight home. Other than the fact that my son suggested that most of the cab drivers report to the Syrian security police, war has simply not been part of the agenda during this visit.

So tonight my daughter and I chatted online while she waited for her boyfriend who happens to be in Ramallah in the West Bank where he's been teaching at a Quaker school. Unfortunately the school was hit by a missile earlier this month and when he came online, he could report that the Israelis were shelling Ramallah. His parents were there earlier in July, just got home in fact, and were quite horrified at the situation. They'd always thought that their son was a bit overboard on his pro-Palestinian stance, but now said that they have no way to explain to people back home just how awful things really are. His mother, who is a good friend of mine, says that it defies description and all the media is working against the information.

I have another friend in Canada who lives in a rural area and is convinced that the US is pushing to have a nuclear war in the Middle East sometime by this fall. When he wrote to me to suggest that I should come back to Canada where I might be cold but I'd be safer, I thought that he was being an alarmist. Maybe he knew something... but I sure hope not.

1 comment:

J said...

Have you heard anything yet? Are they okay?