By Alex Ray
December 18, 2017
For every civilisation that has occupied modern-day Beirut, one asset has been central – its port. Nowadays the port district (Al Marfa in Arabic) has an air of neglect. It remains vital to the economic life of modern Beirut but is barely visible to most inhabitants of today’s sprawling, chaotic city.
Continue reading “Beirut, beyond the Corniche”
By Alex Ray
“The Kebabs are ready dad!” Faris yells over his shoulder. His father, busy preparing the bread and tomatoes cannot hear him, so he calls again. “Dad, they are ready!”
Taking matters into his own hands, Faris locates a near-full jerry can of water and drags it across the grassy picnic ground to douse the coals on the barbecue. Faris is only four years old and the jerry can is only slightly shorter than he is. But like most of Jordan’s refugee children he is fast learning to be independent.
Continue reading “Jordan, the view from Gaza Camp”
Originally posted on OffGuardian:
by Alex Ray Not-so-subtle dehumanisation of the targeted “other”. A UK House of Commons inquiry into the 2011 attack on Libya and the country’s subsequent collapse has found what many suspected: NATO and its Gulf Arab allies used their ‘Responsibility To Protect’ to launch their attack even though: “ …the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians… Continue reading Humanitarians for War: Language and the New Orientalists
By Alex Ray – in Foreign Brief on August 3rd 2016.
Western coverage of the Syrian conflict has largely overlooked allegations that Israel is backing jihadists fighting in Syria. Middle Eastern leaders have a history of blaming domestic unrest on such conspiracies – particularly when Israel is involved. Although conspiracies of Israeli support for Al Qaeda and ISIS are largely hyperbole, the country’s posture towards the Syrian conflict and its relations with jihadi groups deserve closer inspection. Continue reading “Is Israel Backing Jihadists In Syria?”
An edited version of my article on Syria’s partition appeared in Woroni (Australian National University Newspaper) in March 2016 and can be accessed here. Continue reading Woroni Publishes ‘Syria and The Facade of Partition’
The light of Amman, Jordan is strikingly similar to many parts of Australia, perhaps derived from the age of both areas – their vibrancy worn by thousands of years of activity.
The light is dry, bright, harsh and shallow – like the contrast has been turned up on the TV. It refracts off the ubiquitous sandy grey surfaces of every building, leaving few shady refuges. The glare is intensified by the doggedly cloudless sky, making you lose sense of distance and scale as the cinder-block buildings roll over the endless hills. Continue reading “The Stamp Collection: Amman’s assault on the senses.”
Alex Ray – 08.09.2015
Thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald this week for providing another example of poorly researched, illogical and one-sided reporting on Syria.
Continue reading “After Four Years, Australian Journos still don’t get Syria”
Alex Ray 26.08.15
“Traveling to Palmyra this week was a great break from Damascus and a welcome refresher on the amazing history of the region. Although this time we had the same driver (Abu Adnan) in Palmyra, nothing else was the same. It was hot dusty and dry, and the tourism industry of the place was suffering hugely. The hotel we stayed in (Tetraplyon) was completely empty and the ruins of Palmyra were host to only 20 or so tourists.” – diary entry for the 24th April 2011, Palmyra, Syria.
Tears fell for Palmyra this week as ISIS beheaded its long-time curator Khaled al-Asaad and destroyed one of its most famous Roman-era monuments. The rose-coloured stone – which romanced so many visitors – has been obliterated. The world owes a debt to all who have died in defence of Syria and Iraq’s heritage. Those tears were for them, for the lost treasures of our collective past and for the future of the region. Continue reading “Killing ISIS Softly”
Although it is hard to single out individual aspects of any transformative trip as the most enjoyed, most educational or most memorable, this series of posts will tease out thoughts and sentiments from some of the photos I have collected from the Arab world. They mark influential moments and experiences that I would like to share.
Ruins, The Sea and The Snow.
Continue reading “The stamp collection”