This series of observational posts derives from diaries I have kept while abroad. The title comes from Tiziano Terzani’s travel epic ‘A Fortune Teller Told Me’. As well as fortune tellers, Terzani acknowledges the usefulness of insights gleaned from conversations with taxi drivers.
Lunchtime Sunday February 1: despite being the start of the working week, crowds throng the main entrance to Souk Hamidiyyeh in central Damascus. Buses come and go from the central bus stop a few hundred metres away. They are same ones I developed a love hate relationship with while studying in Damascus.
Through my own attempts to study Arabic in-country in my undergraduate years I became aware of a shocking lack of support for Australian students interested in studying in the Arab world.
While opportunities for students wishing to study abroad in North America, Europe and increasingly East Asia, are vast, not one Australian university offers students the chance to spend a semester or more on the ground in an Arabic speaking country. Continue reading “Unis need proper links with Arab countries”
Influencing public opinion on the Syrian civil war continues to be just as important to winning as fighting on the ground. The ever-increasing complexity of the conflict means what is not said can be just as influential as what is said. Reporting that ignores context and vital explanatory detail can simply confuse or, even worse, mislead the reader.