Hospitality wars

by Emily Dische-Becker

Syrian nuns apparently now rival Israeli soldiers as the most valuable hostages in the Middle East. Yesterday, in exchange for 13 nuns who had been kidnapped by a local Al-Qaeda franchise, the Syrian regime released 25 to 152 prisoners (according to state- and opposition sources, respectively).

Jabhat al Nusra reportedly treated the nuns really well during their three months of captivity, going so far as to describe them as “guests.” Upon their release, the nuns praised their captors as “sweet and kind” and insisted that “no one forced us to remove our crosses,” leading Syrian state TV to denounce the sisters as traitors and spies.

Jabhat al Nusra must have really pulled out all the stops for them:  Lowering the treble and bass on the morning call to prayer. Christmas caroling (no stringed instruments.) Happy hour cocktails. Watching re-runs of Sister Act II.

The instrumentalization of minorities has reached new and obscene heights in Syria.

On that note, I overheard the following exchange between two young men at an airport bar yesterday: “Dude, who the fuck kidnaps a nun?”“Dunno. Porn director, maybe?”

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