Syria photo series revised

I am more than happy to have visited Syria…! The country plunged into complete disaster as the civil war threw the country at incredible turmoil. The war tore families, friends and everyday life apart and had a massive impact on all cultural sites as well of course. Nothing is like it was before…, which is pretty inconceivable for us stability-blessed westerners. As an hommage to a country with an incredible hospitality and a worlwide unique historic substance I have put the photo material taken in 2007 to a revision, also because the software side of digital photography is subject to technical evolution. Nowadays, only 7 years after my journey, writing down the word Syria rather leads to receiving intelligence service attention instead of awakening excitement for a genuine Crusader fortress, thousands of years old settlements or ancient Roman ruins. Sad…!

More eternal than Rome – Damascus
Travel Report - Orient - Damascus/Syria
When having a stroll through Damascus’ manifold Old Town then you will definitely be faced with the complex history of this Arabic metropolis, as today’s capital of Syria was already referred to in the scriptures of the ancient Egyptians. The main alley through the bazaar automatically leads through the remainings of the Roman Jupiter temple towards the gates of majestic Umayyad mosque. In its neighbourhood you can uncover Stories from One Thousand and One Nights still being as fresh as a daisy.
The Crusader castle ‘Krak des Chevaliers’
Travel Report - Orient - Krak des Chevaliers/Syria
The Krak des Chevaliers to the west of Homs is one of the best preserved witnesses of the Crusades, but also a huuuuuge playground for men from where you can even see the coast line and the Libanon mountains.
The Roman Ruins of Palmyra
Travel Report - Orient - Palmyra/Syria
Enjoying a desert sunset in Palmyra and against impressive backdrop of ancient Roman ruins is a definite must-see when travelling Syria.
Hama’s ancient giant water wheels
Travel Report - Orient - Hama/Syria
In Hama there’s a creaking in the wind. That’s not surprising, as the town just 80km up north of Homs is home to giant wooden water wheels called Norias, which once served as a way to pump water to the surrounding fields. Just follow course of Orontes river and it will automatically lead you to those ancient water pumps.
Turbulent, chaotic Soap Paradise
Travel Report - Orient - Aleppo/Syria
From time immemorial the north Syrian city of Aleppo, the former Aramaic Halab, is a centre of trading. Today this glorious history is still pretty much alive at the Medina, the old town, where the fairytale bazar and the mighty citadel tell stories from ancient times. Though the city can be quite a bustle, in particular when it comes to traffic. Then the only quiet place is a hammam, where you can indulge yourself in the famous hand-scooped Aleppo soap.
My Orient journey and in particular my visit of Syria was very important for my photographical career as quickly I realised that technically seen a Canon 20D and some third-party lenses are not able to give me what I need to meet my own demands, for example using an open aperture without producing pixel mash. The logic consequence was to make a huge step towards professional photo gear, what advanced during the year to become the backbone of my work.

Syria has a sublime and touching history, hospitality and religiousness. According to western attitude and media the latter one should have put a spoke in my wheel. Well, that wasn’t the case at all and to everyone’s surprise I returned home alive ;-) I was allowed to eye-witness a surely sometimes archaically appearing society that was open-minded, hospitable and pragmatic. Its positive basic nature was not least reflected by the role of women in the public as in contrast to other countries like the Gulf Emirates, Iran or Saudi-Arabia women were not forced to shroud themselves in burkas. Also they were allowed to underline female attractiveness with make-up and clothing.

Many of the things I have seen will be inaccessible for a very long time or they’ll be gone forever and surely I am already part of some intelligence service database only because I wrote down the word Syria while having really been in Syria. We live in a horribly mutated society! The essence of the current war situation in Syria as well as in North Iraq, the territory of today’s IS (former ISIS), is the logical follow-up of the US-American aggression as well as a general indifferent attitude of the West towards the Syrian civil war.

Though, first and foremost it was the US-led Coalition of the Willing as they deeply and long-lastingly destabilised Iraq’s daily routine, safety, culture and supplies as well as tore friends and families apart when failing to deliver freedom and democracy to Iraqi people. The US-led Coalition of the Willing includes countries like my European neighbour Poland, that is responsible for having created the perfect breeding ground for IS (former ISIS) too. To be honest, I can understand people wanting to beat up the strangers being responsible for screwing up a foreign country. Unfortunately in that context many things get trivialised as well as misused.

There is no question that IS has to be fought as it stands for extreme injustice. Killing people, to boot its own, on the authority of Islam or other religious values is pure abuse, is nothing but criminal murder. Though we must not forget that it was the USA that threw (again!) the whole world into the boiling water by creating the breeding ground for what now has to be fought. It was good that we Germans said no to Iraq War participation. However we should have taken a bolder stand against those warmongers tough, in particular after it was clear that there were no weapons of mass destruction and the Coalition of the Willing rode roughshod over international law.

If, with regard to foreign affairs, we Germans would treat everyone non-discriminating, equal and non-applying double standards, then we should have instantly called for imposing much heavier sanctions on the US than on Russia as the current Ukraine reencounters are much less heavy than throwing the whole Arabic region into turmoil by lying right to the whole world’s face.

Personally I am boycotting US-American products where I can as sometime there HAS to be set a landmark against human acting from pure arrogance. If we Germans would behave the way the US does, if we would invade and destabilise other countries, then quickly the word Nazi would grace the newspapers.

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