Departures


Over a year ago, I made what was probably one of the most daring decisions of my professional life, to leave my position at the University of St Andrews and become a full time writer. Though I had many voices inside my head that argued against this decision, ultimately, my realization was this:- that as long as I had to interact with a subject as tragic as Syria's politics, I simply could not seriously engage in any creative project, no matter how ardent my desire. The choice before me became a clear one. I wrote to the Director of the Centre for Syrian Studies, Dr. Raymond Hinnebusch, informing him of my decision, that I would be leaving my post. Looking back, I know that one of the most difficult aspects of my decision was the end it entailed to my professional relationship with Dr. Hinnebusch, who, in addition to being a world acclaimed scholar of Syrian politics and history, is also one of the kindest, most gracious people I have ever known. I still cherish the letter he sent me after my departure. Though it is addressed to me, its content says a lot about its author.