I visited Syria in February 2010, just months, if not weeks, before the beginning of the unrest that utterly led to the civil war. This is why the memory of this travel weighed heavily in me, by the idea that most travels are just squeezed between one conflict and another. And even at that moment, Bosra made a particularly grim impression on me. Not just by the basaltic aspect of the city; also by a particular poverty of its inhabitants. There are different kinds of poverty, characterised by different types of absence. In Bosra, as I saw it, the absence was beyond the material things. It was a deeper, more essential lack of reason to exist, a sort of suspension in the history.