Author(s): Marius Kociejowski
The Street Philosopher and the Holy Fool presents the unexpected face of Syria. Based on five journeys, undertaken over as many years, Kociejowski's book is entirely concerned with the slow journey towards friendship. So we learn nothing about coups or conspiracies, iconic monuments or historic travellers. Instead we meet a chance handful of Syrians, such as Myrna, a Christian faith-healing stigmatic, Yasser, a Palestinian refugee and political activist, Abu al-Tahib, a prince of fools, a modern desert father, Paolo Dall'Oglio, and the street philosopher and the holy fool of the book's title. It was written during the era of conversation, before the use of mobiles, and long before the current civil war. Saluted as a travel classic on first publication (just 12 years ago) it is now in danger of becoming a testament to the last of the old Levant.