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Jean Cozzens brother report from Damascus

January 29, 2009

My friend Jean’s brother is in Damascus and I thought people may be interested in hearing an account from someone from the states visiting the region.
His blog is called Abu Wilyam


Jean’s intro is in the extended entry.

From Jean:
“My youngest brother Richard (who you may have met over the years, he’s
been in Providence frequently) is now living in Damascus, Syria, where
he has lived and traveled off and on since 2005. he wrote this blog
post a week or so ago, about some responses of people in Damascus to
the Israeli invasion of Gaza, then updated it recently after hearing
further responses from various friends and family. it means a lot to
me to be able to read a perspective on that conflict that is different
from that which we usually see over here — which, in this case, seems
to be mostly silence. if you’re thinking about that part of the
world, and curious for more, here are some observations & reflections
from closer to the happening.
Rich’s most recent update, at the bottom of the post, really strikes
me strongly. he writes about how the path towards solving these
problems needs to involve listening to all the narratives of every
group and acknowledging them all as legitimate, despite their
contradictions. I feel that this theme runs through a lot of the
work I have done in recent years: mentoring others at New Urban Arts
and understanding how the wildly different people who make up that
place come together to make it happen; collaborating with friends and
knowing how important it is to feel heard and appreciated even in
disagreement; celebrating mess, disorganization, and improvisation
within my own (tending-towards-the-meticulous) art-making processes,
and understanding the complex and conflicting narratives of my own
life as making up one person who is a whole self. it’s super
important to me to be reminded that there is never a simple
explanation, and that there shouldn’t be — but that by listening &
trying to understand, we can find ways to progress through the
love — jean


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