Tea on the Axis of Evil
Syria had recently been admitted to the Axis of Evil, so I moved there with a camera, and traveled alone throughout the country from 2004 through 2006. As a New York woman, post-9/11, I was desperate to stimulate curiosity in my fellow citizens of the west, about Arab communities maligned by the media. Syria's intricate dance between tradition and modernity reveals itself as a range of sexy and funny characters discuss dating, marriage, education, art, politics and religion. People are kind and educated and a myriad of different religions and sects co-exist harmoniously. The rosy image dims as fear of the encroachment of radical Islam emerges. A writer blames the government for using fear of fundamentalists to control society. A government minister sights the rise of Islam as a response to external pressures against Arabs. She concludes that the current political climate exaggerates differences, encourages extremists and undermines moderate and liberal voices.