World Enough Observed……connecting with the people of different lands
contact: firstname.lastname@example.org – Nizar Harji
Road trip from Damascus (Syria) to Beirut (Lebanon).
Border of Syria and Lebanon, Palestinians refugee settlement – family operated shop.
Above, the kindness and hospitality of the Palestinian refugees, they immediately invited me to meet the family and offer of snacks and drinks from their shop and bade farewell with prayers for my safety.
In Beirut at the promenade on the Mediterranean coast line. Lebanon was a flashpoint of constant conflicts, internal political problems between Christians, Muslims and the Shia group – Hezbollah backed by Syria and large population of Palestinian refugees settled in camps which was under constant Israeli Military attacks. Israeli Military with their allies in the fragile Government carried out a brutal killing of Palestinians in the refugee camps.
Lebanon was a very unsafe place to be, one can get caught up in cross fire from all sides. A beautiful country plunged in constant conflict. These mixed group of population kept apart from each other in their own strongholds and different areas they controlled. Tension was always high. My exploring was confined to Muslim controlled areas with their Middle Eastern life style.
A street scene in Beirut along the Mediterranean coast line.
In Damascus – the grand Omayyed Mosque. A monument in Islamic architect.. Damascus is the capital of Syria with population of 2.5 million. It is a city of contrast. Veiled women in traditional dress walk alongside women dressed in trendy western clothes. Old men in “galabiehs” traditional attire pass young men in Levi Jeans and Michael Jackson T-Shirts. Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Historicaly it has been fought over many times and some of the earliest conquerors include King David of Israel, the Assyrians in 732 BC, Nebuchadnezzar in 600 BC and then the Persians in 530 BC, in 333 BC it fell to Alexandr the Great. In 64 BC Syria became a Roman Province. With coming of Islam Damascus became an important centre as the seat of the “Omayyed Caliphate” from 661 to 750. When the Abbbasids took over and moved the Caliphate to Baghdad, Damascus was again plundered . Later Damascus was occupied by Seljuq Turks in 1076 and finally it fell to the Egyptians in 1154. Then in 1516 followed a 400 year rule of the OTTOMAN Turk until at the end of First World War with the defeat of Germany and Turkey. Under the mandate by League Of Nations France occupied Syria and Damascus from 1920 to 1945. At the end of Second World War in 1946 with the evacuation of the French forces, Damascus became the capital of an independant Syria.
At the university in Damascus – meeting and discussing with students, their view and thinking on the situation prevailing in the Middle-East.
Above an overview of Damascus.
A very pleasant life in Damascus, wonderful eating places with authentic middle eastern cuisine .
With an elderly shop-keeper in Damascus. People do not have concept of retirement. Their life remains active till the end.
Each day I passed on the same street, this little boy was there doing colouring. I did not know if he was expecting money from the passers by or he was just parked there by his parents when they went out to work. I tried to talk with him and I could sense and feel the deep sadness in his eyes. I was tempted to give him some money, but in that society it is risky to be missunderstood and foreigners could cross the cultural norms and be easily in trouble. My prayers went for this little boy. It was a mystery to me why this innocent looking boy was there everyday.
From Damascus motoring to Aman, Jordan and on to PETRA via the Dessert Highway. The SUNSET shining on the vast Dessert sand, the solitude and quietness was an experience to be thankful to Allah.
From Aman to PETRA – a U.N. heritage site of ancient civilisation. The excavation is in progress with more findings being unearthed. A ruined capital of Nabataeans – Arabs who dominated the Tranasjordan area in Pre-Roman times – and they carved these elaborate buildings and tombs out of the solid rocks, including 3000 seat amhitheatre. Walking around in silence you get the feeling of the past era.
Driving from Aman to Petra on a Dessert Highway, sun- set reflecting on the golden dessert sand, the sheer beauty of the nature cannot be described in any words, there are no sufficient words to glorify the Creator. If I were a painter I would not have sufficient colours to select to give effect to this glorious beauty. If I were a poet I would not have adequate words to do justice to this enormous beauty of the Creator. It touches the Soul, heart and mind and you feel closest to the Creator.
Among the visitors at PETRA, with a colossal ancient architecture discovery in the background. The sheer size and magnitude and the details of the monument is astonishing. One can only imagine the skills of the people who constructed this.
Scene of the PETRA discovery.
Below at WADI RUM on the way to AQUBA port (Jordan).
Wadi Rum has a spectacular desert scenery. There is no hotel in this area.
Scene at the AQBA port, JORDAN at the border point of Eilat in ISRAEL.
With people of AQBA, Jordan. It is a great tourist spot for the people in the Region from Arab countries.
At AQBA with my driver. The last point in Jordan at the border of Israel. To cross into Israel you have to walk pulling your luggage to its check point into Eilat. Here you go through severe interrogation by Israeli Military before they decide to let you in.
Overview of JERUSALEM.
A street scene in JERUSALEM.
Below JEWS WAILING WALL in EAST JERUSALEM. They touch their foreheads to the wall as their prayers ritual.
Above at the DOME OF THE ROCK, a holly site for the Muslims. It was from here PROPHET MOHAMED ascended Spiritually to meet the Creator. For Muslims walking inside the Dome has deep Spiritual meaning and satisfaction. Inside the Dome, ceilings have bullet marks, an attack by Israeli military on worshippers.
Below at the gate of the ancient Al AQSA MOSQUE , a holy site for MUSLIMS. Often a site of bloodshed by Israeli Military on Muslim worshippers.
At the restaurant in RAMALAH, West Bank PALESTINE.
In NAZARETH, in front of the Church of Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Prophet Jesus Christ. Believed to be home of Mary and Joseph and the infant Jesus.
A Palestinian Wedding in RAMALAH, West Bank Palestine.
With my driver in Israel and Palestine.
Some of the stunning houses belonging to the Palestinians in the West Bank.
At the DEAD SEA in Israel, the lowest point on earth. The water in the Dead Sea is so heavy with salt that one cannot sink down under the water, you just remain floating. The Dead Sea contains 20 times as much Bromine, 15 times as much magnesium and 10 times as much iodine. Bromine a component of many sedatives relaxes the nerves. All these is said to have health beneficial effect.
At the MASADA IN ISRAEL. A deep climb up by foot. Masada has historical significance for Jews. Located high above the Dead Sea. Masad in Hebrew means stronghold. It was built as refuge and fortified against attack by the Romans : Cleopatra and Mark Anthony and kept under siege. In 66 AD the Jews rose up against the Romans that had surrounded them, a group of Jews Zealots defended the Masada to death. It was finally over run by the Romans. At the time there were inside Masada 967 men, women and children when at the point of being over run by the Romans all committed mass suicide and only ten Zealots remained defending and finally to die.
In West Bank Palestine at the street walk Café.
With head gear of Palestinians in East Jerusalem.