The Other

Syrian refugees Amaneh Abdel Hamid Al Nasser, 16, and Ahmad Jamal Abo Sallo'o, 23, pose for a photograph in Zaatari refugee camp located 10 km east of Mafraq, Jordan. They married last year in a ceremony that they both call the best day of their lives. (Photo by Shawn Baldwin/UNHCR)

“Stories are able to operate on two levels. On the surface, they deal with particulars involving a range of facts related to a given time and place, a local culture and a social group–and it is these specifics that tend to bore us whenever they lie outside of our own experience. But then, a layer beneath the particulars, the universals are hidden: the psychological, social and political themes that transcend the stories’ temporal and geographical settings and are founded on unvarying fundamentals of human nature.” 

—Alain de Botton, “The News: A User’s Manual”

It’s a land of wide opportunity, unmet expectations, expired dreams and loud triumph. It’s also a place of evolution, devolution and revolution. Take a journey with our Middle East correspondent Lauren Bohn as she navigates a complicated region, post-Arab Spring. She’ll introduce you not just to the issues – inequality, polarization, a contested space for women and minorities – but also to the people wrapped up in the issues. Entrepreneurs, teachers, cooks, sons, mothers, people roaming the corridors of power, people being dragged through the corridors of power. Their experiences are the best indicators of where their countries – and our shared humanity – are heading. Their stories are really our stories. The Other is you. Also, don’t miss Lauren’s special report with Dalia Mortada, “Bittersweet: From Syria with Baklava.”