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  1. I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone who’s read my novel that I’m not a big fan of much of the Middle East. What I haven’t posted before is that I’ve been alone here for years while my wife and daughter, who wasn’t allowed to go here with me for medical reasons, have been in the USA. I was in the USA with them until two years ago (this has been going on for years), but was pressured to go back overseas again, without them (my job requires a lot of travel, to put it mildly). My daughter was recently approved to go with me to a few select countries and I successfully applied to change my assignment this year. Hopefully, all goes well and we will be reunited this summer in Western Europe. We are still waiting for our daughter’s final acceptance in a school there, but are hoping and praying it’s coming soon.
  2. Has anyone been watching Rise of Empires: Ottoman on Netflix? -- SPOILER WARNING-- I liked the show until the very end, when the conquering sultan goes into Constantinople right after the city falls and finds it almost empty. He goes into the magnificent Hagia Sophia cathedral and finds no one there, then muses how his new empire will begin, with this city (now renamed Istanbul) as its capital. The reality was very different -- the city was plundered for three days, with some 30,000 inhabitants enslaved or deported, and most of the women raped. The cathedral was packed with women and children when the "liberators" arrived, with the doors barricaded. Once the doors were breached and the invading army was inside, the Byzantines were carted off and sold into slavery. Netflix completely skipped over all of this.
  3. https://edition.cnn.com/middleeast/live-news/baghdad-airport-strike-live-intl-hnk/index.html It looks like it's getting worse there, unfortunately.
  4. In case anyone hasn't seen the news recently, the American embassy in Baghdad was attacked yesterday by Iranian-backed militia members and their supporters. What played out eerily resembled a scene from my work in progress, right down to the "Death to America" chants (in my book, that was a headline in an Iranian newspaper right before a similar riot). Unlike in my book, however, the local Iraqi "guards" let the militia members walk into the Green Zone, where they are apparently still camped just outside the embassy and laying siege to it. I'm still in the Middle East, but not Iraq, if anyone's wondering. I'd like to put in a prayer request for the American diplomats in the embassy there.
  5. Merry Christmas from the Middle East!
  6. I'm overseas in the Middle East and, instead of paying for local cable, use Netflix, Amazon Prime and, now, Apple TV+. I also have a smart TV which has a few Android-compatible programs and can play Netflix, etc.
  7. Hi, I'd be interested in reading it and have some familiarity with both Tennessee and England (although not York), as well. If you'd like, you could beta read the entirety of my novel, Under the Crescent Moon, in exchange. It's about 55k words at the moment.
  8. I think he was even more evil than Bin Laden. His last act of murder was to kill three of his children when he detonated his suicide vest.
  9. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-law-enforcement-alert-wake-isis-leader-al/story?id=66581784
  10. Yes, nowhere is really safe anymore.
  11. If you're following the news today, the U.S. just killed Al Baghdadi, the self-declared "Caliph" of Islamic State, in Syria. If you're anywhere in the Middle East (or Europe, for that matter), the next few days might be a good time to avoid crowds, etc.
  12. Maybe they just lose track of them. It's not like they had Facebook in those days....
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