Blogger is NOT blocked. I've been using other ways of getting on to Blogger, but when I saw Annie's comment I decided to have my regular attempt at typing in www . blogger . com boom - Blogger appeared.
On to other issues...so many questions.
Thank you so much everyone for your warm welcome. It feels like I've come back. Although in reality I never went away, I just wasn't honest with myself about what I wanted to write about.
Of course, that style's going to change when I'm writing from outside the country - just because I'll be exposed to a different 'Damascus'.
In response to questions about what we can do to support the Iraqis in Syria. I think one of the most important things is to change attitudes. There is still a lot of racism. But I think it comes down to ignorance. When faced with Iraqis no-one is more hospitible than Syrians.
But get a group of Syrians together, and the refugees suddenly become the scapegoats for all of the country's (economic) ills.
Other than that, there are small groups working with the refugees, and of course the UNHCR always needs more help.
As for the banks - yes, it is a real problem that many people don't have an account. Or any money to put in one. Five years ago 25 of the country had an account. Now there are queues of people at cash machines. So something is changing.
Where's that change coming from? Of course it starts at the top. I think the top levels are opening up a window of opportunity for others - Syrian and foreign businesses - and it's those businesses (whatever you think of them) who are the motors of change.
Look at the private radio stations and internet companies and banks. It is true that the top levels still have a lot of control over them. They are on a tight leash. But if someone closes their eyes for just a second, they can run free.
This is the start of something.
Keep the questions coming, I'll try my best to answer.
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