Held Hostage

Middle Eastern travel presents one hazard few foreigners are aware of—the risk of becoming a hospitality hostage. And nowhere is the threat more serious than in Syria.

In the typical scenario, the foreigner is approached by a lone Syrian. Conversation leads to an offer of accommodation. Polite refusal merely causes the offer to be repeated, until eventually resistance breaks down. The foreigner is then led to the house of a Syrian family, to be plied with plates of rice, tabbouleh,...

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About the Author

Christopher Thornton teaches at Zayed University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.