No Arab Spring for Syria

It looks like the Libyan nutter is finished. Good riddance to bad rubbish. What of Syria? I came across the blog of a young gay Syrian called Sami. He writes with great courage and eloquence about his plight as gay man in an Arab state – and his profound worry about his family as the Assad regime continues its march of murderous oppression. At first, I was a little suspicious after the hoax blog by a Syrian lesbian that turned out to be an American writer living in Scotland. Now, I’m convinced it’s genuine. As with the entire Arab world, being gay in Syria is illegal and punishment is severe. Of course, man on man action is virtually obligatory; access to the fairer sex is restricted before marriage, and sheep are hard to find in Damascus. Boys will be boys after all. Just don’t say ‘gay’. Well, at least they don’t string them up like they do in Saudi Arabia and non-Arab Iran so that’s alright then. Gay rights are human rights and human rights are thin on the ground for anyone in Syria right now.

Sami writes:

The regime is still killing in Hama – yesterday they started assassinating doctors to increase fatalities. They are slowly killing my nephew, and killing me in the process. The only image that is in my mind now is of his smile when he calls my name and says, ‘You draw a cat, I draw a dog’. Syrian Gay Guy

I posted a few words of support on Sami’s blog. It was the least I could do and a small, small thing I did as we watch the body count grow. To think young people were rioting in London for a new pair of Nikes. Let’s wish for a belated Arab spring in Syria.

Jack’s Titanic Tale

Friends invited us along on our first boat trip since our emigration, sailing from the pretty but hassle-bound Gümüslük Bay. We were accompanied by the definitive nuclear family with grandparents in tow. The mini-cruise was enjoyably predictable, dropping anchor at various identical brushy islets for a dip in the gorgeous translucent waters. I showed off my still impressive diving skills learned in my distant youth. Our cheery skipper provided a simple but serviceable meal of sea bass, pasta and salad. Over lunch, Mrs. Nuclear bored us with vapid tales of her multi-gifted progeny, a spoilt and rude little runt who showed little respect to his elderly grandparents. So underwhelmed was I by the tedious litany of his talents, I asked Mr Nuclear if Master Nuclear could do something about Syria.

Women and Children First

Without warning, the Meltemia picked up as we headed back to port. Struggling against the mighty head wind, the boat smashed repeatedly against the heaving swell, drenching us with the over-salty waters of the Aegean. We bounced around the deck like jetsam on a trampoline. Fearing a Kate Winslett Titanic moment we clung precariously to anything we could find. Our gentle cruise intended to calm the soul and relax the mind had turned into a white knuckle ride on the high seas – most amusing and, of course, potentially calamitous.