SYRIA, The exhausted oasis

The heart aches at international news when they open with smoking images, the smell of war and people fleeing from a world stained with darkness and death. Just a few years ago, Syria was a spectacularly beautiful country, oblivious to the passage of time and where history and culture were leaving their traces of dignity. But the Arab spring has frozen our hearts. More than 270,000 dead and half of its 22 million inhabitants calling for help at the gates of Europe.

The images were taken in September 2010, just a few months before the barbarism began. They encapsulate the magic of photography to stop time and take us back to a Syria in peace. The verses of the writer Mark Twain, today more than ever, become an halo of hope "... No remarkable event has occurred in the world without Damascus being there to receive the news of it. Go back as far as you will into the vague past, there was always a Damascus. She has looked upon the dry bones of a thousands of empires, and she will see the tombs of a thousand more before she dies." The Innocents Abroad 1869.