Why Backstreet Blues?


Jabhat al-Nusra in Deir ez-Zor/Syria © Benjamin Hiller 2013

One of the first questions I got in regards to my blog was why I choose the title Backstreet Blues. I will try to elaborate on that:

Besides being a big fan of blues music (classic and modern) – currently the Algerian musician LABESS is running up and down my player – the term blues has a myriad of meanings. May it be a hangover after a night of drinking or the feeling after a failed love; may it be the winter blues due to the cold and darkness in the streets or the blues after returning from a conflict zone back to the cozy safety of your home country, bringing with it the urge to return back as soon as possible. And here we already touch the second word, backstreet, because every country I visit has two faces:

One is the area (mostly in the capital) where expats hang out, green zones exist, politicians talk and liberal/conservative pundits applaud themselves for their accomplishments. Where NGO workers get their work-out, with a sip of good wine in their hands.

But the other side can be found in the narrow alleyways, in small villages outside the capital’s reach, in the literal and figurative backstreets. Here the talking points change, the meaning of words gets a darker tone, the answers are more clear cut and to the point. And at the same time you can find hidden gems of bars, hideouts for strange and fascinating characters as well as a world more grey than black and white.

To find these backstreets and the blues mood is to dwell in a different kind of society, to unearth different perspectives as well as shed a new light on conflicts, news and overall facts. You need to get out of your comfort zone to understand the political “opponent” and experience the reality of living for the vast majority of people on this planet.

Backstreet blues is an attempt to distill these ideas, places, feelings and facts into one blog; though I can always fail as I am only human.

But you are welcome to tag along on this ride.

Yours truly,

Benjamin Hiller


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s