This past weekend I became a hasher. No, this is not some bizarre, drug-induced psychedelic experience but rather a run through the ruggedly beautiful Syrian countryside. Of course, it should be noted that hashers are always proud to say that they are a drinking club with a running problem!
(Baptized a hasher)
I will leave Wikipedia to describe the history and essentials of hashing, and simply begin by saying that our course started about a half-hour’s drive out of
I could not help but feel that I was both an observer and participant of history. When visiting the former home of St. Simeon, a hermit who dispensed advice from atop the high post that he chained himself for over thirty years, it was amazing to imagine how the hilltop must have been transformed over the years from an isolated dwelling to a popular pilgrimage point to a large chapel and later to a ruin of that chapel. I have a lot to look forward to when I visit the castles in two weeks! Soon after making my way past the ruins of St. Simeon, I was initiated into the worldwide community of hashers. After wandering over hills under the bright sun, I was baptized with blue chalk and beer alongside other hash initiates and then downed a Heineken while veteran hashers cheered us to drink it or pour it on our head. (Fear not friends – the cool and refreshing beverage was in no way wasted on the colourful crown of my head!) It was a bit of a cultish experience, but it is funny to think that this tradition was started by a bunch of British diplomats living in
With tongue slightly in cheek, I cannot help but wonder whether this is what Public History ought to resemble: experiencing the modern and ancient history of a country by spending the day outside, exploring farmland and historical ruins, and winding down with a some laughs and a few drinks. (My professors: “Great Jeremy – bribe them into enjoying history with beer.”) Well, all I can say is we would certainly be making steps towards appealing to and engaging a new and broad audience!
(In the midst of the ruins at St. Simeon)