This week we’re going to travel to Syria, a country where recent political troubles have turned the nation upside down. Unfortunately for Syrians, theirs is a nation that has experienced many such political problems in the last hundred years. Colonization by the Ottomans, colonization by the French, several wars with Israel, tension with Jordan and Lebanon, not to mention military coup after military coup…in even the most cursory historical context, the recent troubles are not completely new. Most sadly, the current President, Bashar al-Assad, filled Syria with hope when he succeeded his father, long-time President Hafez al-Assad, in 2000. Below, we’ll learn a bit about Bashar al-Assad, his father, and Syria’s many political twists and turns. We’ll also try to delve deep beyond politics to meet the real Syrians–despite the political turmoil, hospitable, full of life and always willing to dance the dabke.