Syria then and now: an anecdote.
I had an old friend who worked in the oil industry, sometime around 2008 he told me he was going to Syria to do some oil related work.
Clearly I was concerned for his safety, he was a little concerned but he was assured he would be safe by his employers and the money they were offering was good.
After his trip I was relieved to hear from him and heard his experience there.
He told me it was very safe, there was no crime or danger to himself. Of course an oil industry worker is going to be treated well, but it’s difficult to rose tint the experience that much.
Apart from the language barrier there we no real issues apart from the heat.
But the story that really amazed me was this:
He was walking back to his hotel one night at 10pm and walked past a playground as saw kids playing in a park unsupervised on a the typical kids park thing, swings slides climbing frames and he was very surprised and asked one of his translator hosts.
“Is this is safe and normal?”
The host seemed surprised as to why the scene could be so strange and said;
“Yes this is totally safe and normal”.
My friend thought to himself he would not feel safe in his own neighborhood park in a wealthy city the UK at 10pm, let alone children there.
But times have changed;
now the children of Syria can look forward to civil war, chemical weapons and it seems firing squads and arbitrary execution.
So you can say all you want about Syria under Assad, but at the very least law and order was under control, and now clearly it is not.
Yes this is a true story, maybe not exactly the same park as pictured but definitely a park in Syria no more than 5 years ago.