National Geographic : 2009 Nov
• INSIDE GEOGRAPHIC PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT : ED KASHI; PETE SOUZA, THE WHITE HOUSE; ED KASHI ON ASSIGNMENT Scenes From Syria Takinga picture of himself in a mirror provided a moment of levity for Ed Kashi (above) in Syria. Much of the rest of his time there, things were more tense. "Our driver had been questioned about who I was," says the photographer, who also recalls being followed by a myste- rious white Peugeot one afternoon. Kashi spent nearly five weeks with National Geographic Senior Editor Don Belt covering the country for this issue's story. They met with President Bashar al Assad (left, at right, with Belt) at his office in Damascus, where the leader spoke with them about politics, current events, and his childhood. "The Syria Bashar inherited faces huge problems that were decades in the making, so he's got a lot on his plate," says Belt. "Even so, I found him remarkably approach- able and articulate." F I LMALASTACARPS IDEAAEDNAAELIOT TA I LSFROMANOLTE AAAAPA I RSATHETA THECRYPTAXRAYED HOSEAAAAKAAASRS ASALTVEH I CLEAAA WESTA I NSETADSOS AAASURVIVORGILT SOSANAYAAAEEN I E TR I BALAWRAPSONG OI LERASHULAAAAA REALMAHAREDRYER ENGLEAALARAYALU STEEDAMELTAEM I T GeoPuzzle Answers Society Updates PRESIDENTIAL GIFT Since World War II, the National Geographic Society has given custom map cabinets to every President of the United States. President Barack Obama (above, with White House staffer Phil Schiliro) received his in the Oval Office in June. NG CHANNEL A team of experts goes to unprecedented lengths to learn about the world's largest predatory fish in Expedition Great White. Tune in to the National Geographic Channel on November 16 at 9 p.m. for a close-up of the mighty shark. SPECIAL ISSUE The Holy Land takes readers to the birthplace of three great faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Find it in stores and online at ngm.com/ holyland on November 3 ($10.99). Ed Kashi gets reflective inside a trinket shop in Damascus.