Unlike the other books about the refugee crisis I reviewed (here) in part 1, this book identifies and documents the trigger point that set the war in Syria in motion. It’s a horrifying overreaction to children painting graffiti on a school wall, which reads “you’re next doctor”. In Daraa these were dangerous words which had 15 children rounded up, arrested and tortured for months on end.
Doaa Al Zamel, the refugee whose story Fleming retells in agonizing detail, is so deeply and perfectly rendered, that I’d recommend every person who has ever complained about refugees should read. She is human and brave and I think this is something an increasing percentage of the developed world are forgetting.
There are countless articles and re-telling’s about her voyage, with her fiancée, a former member of the Free Syrian Army, across the sea to Europe, but these are just snippets of the big picture. While the terrible shipwreck, that saw 500 real people turn to 11, was a defining moment. I think her humble beginnings, her fear of drowning, her fear of change and the way she witnessed her country, that once she had wanted to serve and protect as a policewoman, turn to a war zone should be further represented. I urge you to read this book. It is the book I have been most captured by so far.