I’m not really in the mood to write — I knew there would be days like this during NaBloPoMo. I could attribute my burnout to the grey skies and strong winds outside, signs of the storms to come. My lack of desire to write could be because of what is going on in the world: the attacks on Paris and Beruit by ISIL weigh heavy on my mind. I am also upset to only now learn about an attack on a Kenyan university that happened in April. Why hadn’t I heard of it until now, thanks to a friend’s Facebook post? I suppose I could blame it on the fact of timing: I was days away from leaving Oman to return back to the US. Or maybe it was because an attack by Islamist militant group al-Shabab that killed 147 African students doesn’t matter as much, in the eyes of the press, as an attack on the French. I do know that back in April, there was no Facebook option to place a black, red and green background behind profile pictures. Today, I see several of my friends place a soft blue, white, and red-stripe pattern onto their images. My thoughts are with all lives lost.
So much violence, it’s hard not to view the Middle East as one big source of violence. But that was not my experience. Oman was, and is, a very peaceful nation. In honor of the lives lost and those who live in peace, I share a few pictures of the beauty that is there; I purposefully feature places of worship. Peace and beauty in the Middle East exists, and always will. I hope people don’t forget that.