Open Google Earth. Seriously. Go ahead and do it. Find a war zone, preferably a recent one, in some kind of once blessed but fallen from favor empire. Think: Syria. Try Aleppo. On Google Earth. Do it. The city map is a comet from the air, a shock wave like half a hexagon to the east. Follow the density west from that to the Citadel, follow the roads that radiate from it to the close packed neighborhoods. The Panoramio layer should be on. This layer is the point, because this is a time capsule.
Click from picture to picture on the little photo tags. This place looks interesting. This place looks like it has a long and fruitful history of human habitation. There are stories in every photo, something to catch the eye, a slant of light, shops, culture. It is easy picture oneself wandering these streets. It would be nice to wander these streets, to get to know this town, the people who have called it home for more than a night’s telling worth of generations. I’ve been to places like this. I love places like this. I look at these pictures and I want to visit Aleppo.
Now Google “Aleppo”. Go ahead. Do it. Click to see image results. Look at them for a while. That is what Aleppo is today. That is the terrible potential of all our cities. We’re all just 4 years away from this. Seems humbling. I’m not trying to make a point really. Its just something worth appreciating.