Place of Perfect Darkness

The road out of Diyarbakır follows the Tigris before heading south across the plateau. For the scattered villages that still exist impossibly out there on the flat, little breaks the horizon. Atop the few hills that dot the grassland are strange rock formations that look like citadels, or at least as if they were built by human hands. The road goes on to Çinar and the medieval Artuqid city of Mardin and then down to the Syrian border. From there it passes east across the plain, following the recently constructed concrete border wall. At Nusaybin the wall bisects a city. The Syrian side, which is called Qamishlo, looks indistinguishable from its severed twin; wedding parties are still held in concert on both sides of the wall, with music signalling when lovers and revellers occluded from one another should begin to dance.

September 18