It’s time to update to my blog – once a year, regular as clockwork… What has predicated this further prodigious outpouring? An earnest need to record social injustice, a duty to highlight an humanitarian catastrophe, an epiphany that the world should know Dubai is not after all a sterile, air-conditioned prison of bars and spas? Or is it the gurgling gastro-intestinal imbalance of the soul, common in all ‘great’ bloggers, that makes me reach for the soft, strong and very long online page?
Anyhow, today from Afghanistan comes depressing word of yet another brave high profile woman murdered by illiterate thugs – the ‘halcycon’ days of The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan must must seem far distant. Then from the US, news that a ‘harmless’ Buddhist convert opened up with an assault rifle, killing twelve, which leads me to believe his conversion was at best incomplete. Add to this, 24-hour rolling Parbuckling Live and the tin lid is firmly on my despair – in future, I’m sure I’m not alone in calling for coffee companies to stay on dry land and stick to what they know best.
Elsewhere, ‘conventional’ civilian deaths mount as the nettle of Syria’s tragic farce remains yet ungrasped by an understandably war-weary West – others are not so fatigued. I wonder whether, amidst devastation, the dry humour of Armen Mazloumian – ‘We’ve been rather quiet, so we’ve given the barman a holiday.’ – manager of Aleppo’s Baron’s Hotel, still has an audience? What too of the eloquent Hassan Zahabi and his Damascus emporium of fabrics and ceramics? – ‘We prefer to live with our sorrows… because we never know whether your promises will bring more sorrow.’ Unknown to us both the writing had been on the wall in Hassan’s shop, a pottery plaque announced ‘Al waqt hawa’l hayat’ – ‘time is life’. ‘Some people they believe time is money,’ he’d said, ‘I don’t agree.’
For me the pensions of Beirut, fleapits of Kalis and foggy, winding roads across the Anti-Lebanon Mountains have to wait. For the most part the travel press commissions copy that brings in advertising and sells holidays, perhaps accounting for a diminished readership – many of those I know consign travel sections, along with sponsored advertorials, to the same pile as Scotts of Stow catalogues and UPVC window flyers…
So, having given up pitching into the wind of editorial indifference, my desk is clear and tomorrow I’m off to climb a hill in Italy…
Have a good week.