Before the horrors in Syria began, at a photo exhibition in which I shared images of travels there, some close friends chastised me for ‘spending time with terrorists’ when they saw this image. Abdulsalam, who welcomed my family and me into his home, is a creative, successful Bedouin entrepreneur. His name actually means ‘servant of peace’, yet was deemed immediately by some to be an instant criminal, THEM, for the simple crime of wearing an Arab headdress, or kufiya.
I was working at a hotel in Palmyra and learned that tourists wanted to have an authentic Bedouin experience. So now, I take people out into the desert on camels to have dinner and stay with my family in our tent.
Early one morning I took a walk through the Bedouin community outside Palmyra. On seeing a lone, Westerner, they invited me into their tent for morning coffee and breakfast and to visit with their ten-day old baby. Other than ‘assalam alaikum’ (hello) and ‘shukran’ (thank you), no words were shared. However there was a deep human connection.