Tammam Azzam doesn't claim to be a representative of the Syrian people, but neither does he want to be treated as an individual. He wants to be one his fellow countrymen. And yet, as an artist, individuality is a necessity if one is to make a living. Perhaps that is why his first solo exhibition in London, I, the Syrian, a collection of surreal digital collages, bristles with defiance, paradox and tragedy.
The tragedy and loss brought on by the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has triggered an overflow of generosity from the British public along with acres of media coverage. However quietly fading away from the daily headlines, Syria is also watching its children's futures cruelly slip away from them.
Another Syrian refugee, nine year old Samar from Daraa, drew a woman who was smiling and crying at the same time, holding a flower in one hand while her other hand was missing. When Samar talked, she alternated between sharing the feelings of fear and hopelessness she experienced in Syria and the security and stability she is now feeling in Lebanon.
It's just after midnight in Tripoli, Lebanon. I'm on my way home from a lovely evening in Beirut with friends. I am nearly home. The streets are empty. Out of the car window I catch a glimpse of a little figure. A young boy leaning on a car with one hand, dozing off with a bunch of roses and gardenia flower chains in another...
Spam is ubiquitous today and the people behind these messages will find any excuse to persuade you to part with your cash. Most of us are familiar with the 'family-in-distress' tactic used by scammers over recent years and believe we have the edge on them. But now there is a new plot, a new story-line with new characters.