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Simon Collis » Ambassador to Iraq

Sayyeda Zeynab still speaks to us today

Ashura, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn Ibn Ali falls each year on the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic Calendar. It is a time of mourning for victims of injustice and for remembrance and self-reflection. This year Ashura coincided with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women which falls on 25 November each year. This is also a day for remembering victims of … Read more »Sayyeda Zeynab still speaks to us today

Building stability, prosperity and normality in Iraq

Iraq Flag

I am excited to return to Iraq seven years after I served as British Consul General in Basra. Iraq has moved on leaps and bounds since then. Iraq today is better than its image in the West. International perceptions including in the UK too often remain stuck in the past, shaped by images of sectarian violence inside Iraq and negative memories of division and disillusionment outside it. I have spoken … Read more »Building stability, prosperity and normality in Iraq

It never had to be this way

Feature image for:  It never had to be this way

The Syrian uprising is one year old today. It shouldn’t be. What began as peaceful, legitimate protests in search of dignity and a better future need never have become the violent conflict that has seen Baba Amr become the latest symbol of the regime’s shameful disregard for human rights and human life. When the relatives of 40 political detainees gathered outside the Interior Ministry in Damascus on March 15th 2011, … Read more »It never had to be this way

Why you shouldn’t question what you know is true

syrianflag

I’ve been British Ambassador in Syria since 2008. But I first visited the country more that 30 years ago. Syria, I know well and like very much. That makes what has happened since March last year all the more horrifying and sad for me personally. The UN says over 5,400 people have died in the last ten months, some of them under torture in prison.  Other groups – particularly those … Read more »Why you shouldn’t question what you know is true

The truth is what big brother says it is

I’ve been British Ambassador in Syria for the last four years. Last weekend I decided to start this blog after Syria passed a terrible milestone. The Syrians have now endured six months of unrest and violent suppression of mostly peaceful protests. As they now look towards the next six months with a mixture of uncertainty, fear and hope, I wanted to share some personal impressions about what’s happening. Some thoughts … Read more »The truth is what big brother says it is