Friday, October 31, 2008

Another American student in Syria sent me this (I use with his/her permission): "I'm an American student conducting some research for my PhD in Beirut and traveled to Syria on Wednesday because my Lebanese visa was about to expire and I needed a new one. I traveled to the border with three friends, all British nationals. They all passed through without incident. I, meanwhile, was made to wait for eight hours before the Syrians let me through and allowed me to return to Beirut. To be fair, Americans were being forced to wait between one and four hours at the border to get visas *before* the attack last weekend because they have to fax our passports to Damascus and get approval. But it was clear, in this case, that the Syrians were heroically resisting the terrorist American aggression by ... taking out their frustrations on a lone American tourist. I sat through two shift changes, smoking cigarettes and talking with the guys ferrying Iranian tourists through (I even made friends with the tea boy!), and the guy in charge of the foreign arrivals desk (the third one to whom I plead my case) finally had some mercy on me and called his buddies in Damascus. I could hear him remonstrating them for making me wait so long. Anyway, I write because of the American student who wrote in from Damascus saying "the govt is so wonderfully distinguishing between the citizens and the govt of the US." Well, that's great if you're in Damascus. Alas, it's not true at the border. Anyway, I knew you would appreciate this tale of Syria's valiant resistance. If they keep it up, I'm sure they'll have the Golan liberated by Christmas."