It’s the late morning, and my wife Mardena and I are headed back to our hostel in Antalya, a city on Anatolia’s southwestern coast. We’ve just returned from a trip to the archeological museum, where we saw a stunning display of Roman mosaics set out under clear glass walkways. As we duck out of the 111-degree heat and into the hostel’s lobby, we come upon a young man, probably in his early twenties, standing with his head craned forward and eyes fixed on a TV mounted high on the wall. A Turkish news report is discussing the war raging in neighboring Syria. The camera footage shows smoke, rubble, and bombed-out buildings, but I have no idea what the reporter is saying. I ask the young man what is happening. “Assad is bombing Homs,” he says, his eyes still on the screen.
“My family is there,” he adds. “I haven’t been able to talk to them.” He speaks in a flat, almost stoic, tone, with a slight accent to his English. “My sister lives in Homs, but she can’t go out. She’s stuck in her apartment. She can’t get to my parents’ house.”
He glances at us, then turns his eyes back to the TV. “Hezbollah won’t let Syrian refugees into Lebanon,” he says. He pauses a moment, then adds, “Syria would not do that. Syrians are generous people.”
The civil war in Syria forced her to leave her home for another in Armenia, her ancestral homeland. Three years later, the war rages on, and the situation in the refugee camps in Lebanon and elsewhere remains grim.
Best of In The Fray 2015.
The Troubles are gone, but the anger and suspicion remain in Northern Ireland—especially in working-class Protestant communities left behind by the peace process.
Best of In The Fray 2014.
Last year I visited Saur-Mogila, a burial mound in eastern Ukraine that commemorates the Soviet soldiers who died driving back the Nazis during World War II. Today it is a battleground for a new war, as separatists fight for independence and Russia moves its troops into the lands it once liberated.
The Heart of Everything That Is tells the little-known story of Red Cloud, a ruthless Lakota chief who brought together the warring tribes of the Great Plains to fight the US government and halt its relentless westward expansion.
People warned me not to go. Government advisories declared “avoid all travel.” But I ran off and fell in love with Lebanon anyway.
Vision of Humanity releases the 2007 Global Peace Index, which ranks countries in terms of their peacefulness. Unsurprisingly, most MENA countries didn't fare well.
Though the casualities continue, sacrifice and honor seem to have become memorialized in our past.
What Iraq looks like in the eyes of a third grader.
In my own defense, I've always known that being a Marine was no ticket to glory.