My Story: Or how it being mandatory for my course means I’ll be keeping a blog


Welcome to eyeingthenews.2

A first attempt at setting up this blog as a media monitor has been thrown under the bus – as much as I would like people to listen to my opinion on everything it’s a bit more realistic to focus this blog around something I know, and care about.

Six years ago I spent six months living in Damascus, Syria, as part of my Arabic undergraduate degree. I fell in love.

Weekend trips to Jordan and Lebanon (where I would end up living for three years) ended with us crossing the border with relief, back into familiar Surriya.

Ubiquitous posters of Bashar Assad, clad in military garb,  went from disturbing to oddly comforting (a feeling that was concerning at the time and upsetting now.)

I lived with a fantastic family near Bab Sharqi and between them and my Syrian friends I couldn’t have felt more welcome in this often overlooked country in the Middle East.

I was gutted when I had to leave to come back to Scotland and finish my degree.  The only future plan I had was to move straight back to Damascus when I was done.

Then in my fourth year the Arab Spring erupted across the region.

Friends of mine moved to Lebanon to wait out the violence. They’re still there.

After a year in China I did the same, hoping that something, anything would happen to stop the destruction  in Syria.

In the meantime I became a journalist in neighbouring Lebanon, watching the country of 4 million – already host to 450,000 Palestinian refugees – take in 1.2 million Syrians across the border.

Chronically underfunded, with no coordinated government action plan and already strained institutions, Lebanon is weathering the refugee crisis day to day, along with Turkey and Jordan.

But moving back to Scotland to do a degree in multimedia journalism confirmed what I had long suspected.

People just don’t care.

Not until it affects them directly. Or worse, they are told it does.

The coverage of Europe’s “migrant” crisis had opened up massive fault lines in European society.

And while our leaders pontificate and our tabloids smear refugees fleeing violence on a scale unimaginable to most people, the war in Syria ticks on and on.

In the last five years over a quarter of a million people have died.

It is the largest displacement crisis in the world.

And the international community is still failing in its moral duty to help.

I lost all contact with the family that opened its doors to me but I know Syrians across the globe with varied experiences.

My intent is to use this blog to tell their stories. Interviewing Syrians here in Scotland, and some abroad, to find out how the war has affected them, their families and their communities.




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