Last week I visited the Domiz refugee camp for the third time in six months and saw many children at school and play. Once again, I was struck by their cheeriness and resilience. I wanted to find some of the children I met in June but the camp has mushroomed since then from 50,000 to 75,000 so it would have been difficult.
When I discovered that my language degree required me to spend a year's study in the Middle East, I couldn't work out how I felt. Was it excitement or apprehension? Becoming an international student means many things; poor exchange rates, unfamiliar culture and language barriers are to name but a few.
So why is the west failing to make democracy and women's rights central to aid and trade policies in the region? Why does the EU's aid package to the region - which is supposed to link funding to democratic reform - make no mention of women's rights among the benchmarks governments must meet to keep the money flowing?
Sudanese have plenty of reasons to demonstrate against the disastrous state of the country's finances; inflation is running at 40% and years of oil revenues have been frittered away. Beyond the capital, Khartoum, there has been little investment in infrastructure, education or heath facilities. Unemployment and under-employment have demoralised those millions who do not benefit from the crony capitalism that has sustained the ruling elite for decades.
While the US-Russian deal to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons is a welcome sign that diplomacy has a central part to play in this crisis, the retreat from early talk of military action also suggests a growing reluctance on the part of the US and UK to intervene directly in the Middle East. Whether this is a good or a bad thing, it is certainly something new.
It is easy for security analysts, former Islamist penitents and politicians to rely on ready made narratives on why the UK is still producing Jihadists... But ultimately acceptance of these easy narratives has lead to misunderstanding and wrong policy decisions. The truth is our post-Enlightenment mind finds it difficult to comprehend men who look at the world differently from us.
A one-off barrage of strikes launched from the Mediterranean is unlikely to alter this calculus. It is hard to imagine what could be successfully struck in one barrage of attacks that would serve to either significantly punish the regime for its action or to deter it from deploying the weapons again in the future.
The news coverage this past week showing Egyptians both in mosques and on the streets being killed is just a snapshot of the bloodbath Egypt is experiencing. Whether you like or dislike the Muslim Brotherhood the killing of so many innocent people is an abuse of military power and against international law.
One of the success stories of this tech-savvy revolution is that of Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian satirist whose political parodies posted on YouTube have lead to his own television show and a worldwide following. Despite coming under attack by Islamists, Youssef has remained popular as the voice of dissent.
The Tunisian army is currently fighting militants on the Algerian border in the governorate of Kasserine. The military operation in the Chaambi Mountains is being conducted in close collaboration with their Algerian counterparts. In spite of this, the militants have inflicted considerable damage on the Tunisian army.
It's possible I'm being too harsh on the Government. Maybe the remaining 130 licences for exports to Egypt are OK, and the risk that any of this other equipment might be misused is minor. But I suspect we need more revocations now, and a tighter policy on actually issuing licences in future. At the very least we need more information.
Ghanem threw himself into Muslim Brotherhood activities with vigor. He worked in close conjunction with UK lawyers pressurizing the Mubarak regime to release those imprisoned and tortured in the 1980s. While shaping the Islamist milieu in the UK and hobnobbing with some of the leading Islamists of his generation, he eventually became an influential figure within the organization.