An Enterprising Folk I am amazed at how much stuff people dabble in here in Syria. This country — which gets such a bad-wrap in the international news, and is marred by a repressive autocracy — seems to foster a very free-thinking, enterprising youth. I feel that back home, we complain that we never have time to do all the things we want, and we face much fewer barriers to whatever it is we want to do. But here — taking the example of one friend alone — is someone who at the age of twenty-five, is completing a degree, has worked as a journalist, is involved in a film-project as an assistant-director, is organising a massive cultural project, all whilst applying for international universities. Along with that, writing, drawing and painting feature as pass-times. Oh, and she’s female, in a country where it is true to say that women do not face the same freedoms as their male counterparts, and are up against social pressures based on their sex. Males, however, do have to contend with the looming threat of military service. One Syrian friend has been advised not to follow through on his proposed subject for his film & photography studies final-piece due to the content, which is based-upon just this. And regarding his own military service, he lists his two options, once he reaches 25, as leaving the country (indefinitely), or suicide. Rather worryingly, it is the latter that he is currently contemplating.

An Enterprising Folk

I am amazed at how much stuff people dabble in here in Syria. This country — which gets such a bad-wrap in the international news, and is marred by a repressive autocracy — seems to foster a very free-thinking, enterprising youth.

I feel that back home, we complain that we never have time to do all the things we want, and we face much fewer barriers to whatever it is we want to do. But here — taking the example of one friend alone — is someone who at the age of twenty-five, is completing a degree, has worked as a journalist, is involved in a film-project as an assistant-director, is organising a massive cultural project, all whilst applying for international universities. Along with that, writing, drawing and painting feature as pass-times. Oh, and she’s female, in a country where it is true to say that women do not face the same freedoms as their male counterparts, and are up against social pressures based on their sex.

Males, however, do have to contend with the looming threat of military service. One Syrian friend has been advised not to follow through on his proposed subject for his film & photography studies final-piece due to the content, which is based-upon just this. And regarding his own military service, he lists his two options, once he reaches 25, as leaving the country (indefinitely), or suicide. Rather worryingly, it is the latter that he is currently contemplating.