The world knows the devastating situation that is Syria, centred on cities like Homs. The current New Yorker has 'Letter from Syria'. Once I start reading I can't stop. There is the space given to the Free Syria Army, the 'rebels', and Al Assad's forces, with its pockets of secret police. But where tragedy, so too comedy. A tall prominent looking man, we are told, is in a town square, shouting to the group of foreign journalists that were escorted in January. The man, a lawyer, shouts that terrible things were happening in Homs 'he suggested that the regime was using thugs to intimidate people'. "Army or security or military, I don't know!" he yelled. "They are wearing sports shoes! I don't trust these men with sports shoes." The same opinion could be shouted in any city or town throughout the world: in a different time for many, but still spoken by any fuddy-duddy bourgeois suit, for whom a chintz lounge, a dark study, and a hatred of chewing gum are shorthand ways of lamenting the decline of decency. But poignant too, when, a farmer in the town of Zabadani pointed toward the leafless orchards in the valley and said: "You should see what they've done to the apple trees."