At this moment…

…I could be partying at an African night in Aleppo, Syria.

A month ago, I ventured to Aleppo via Antakya, to pick up my Turkish work visa from the Consulate-General. At a fruit juice stall in the centre of town I met a wonderful couple, Bengali and Celine. Celine is French whilst Bengali is a mixture: Ivory Coast origin, lived 7 years in Cairo and later, moved to France where he met Celine. They now work for The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, based 30 km from Aleppo.

Tonight Bengali was to be DJ at ICARDA’s African night and I could have been there…except for work. As the Muslim holy day begins Thursday evening, Syria, like many other Muslim countries, has Friday and Saturday for its weekend. That is why the party is on tonight, the last weeknight. By the way, Ataturk adopted the western Saturday-Sunday weekend for Turkey when he founded the secular Turkish Republic, almost 80 years ago to the day.

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