And you think you got it bad? A 19-strong consortium of female journalists (sahafiya) spanning Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Syria, Yemen Iraq & more deliver their powerful & widely-straying accounts from events in the region.
Rare details, seasoned front line reportage & lesser discussed minutia from familiar conflicts synthesise with intensely human adaptions to the horror of war & oppression & the exhilaration – & despair – of revolutions, security crackdowns, occupations & state brutality. Thats’ before you factor the conjoined politics – in all their complexities & conditionals – with the authors own experiences of being women reporters in such circumstances & environments. Sometimes the central theme & sometimes with only scant mention, these raw, eloquent & highly candid writings are etched with an openness & humanism that is typical of the region.
“During those years in Syria, I felt like I had been floating, with no past and stable present. It was easier to deal with that uncertainty when I was in the crossfire of war. When you face death on a daily basis, you don’t plan for tomorrow. Why would you, if it might not come. Waisting your time is not an option. You go about life, knowing you’re lucky to be alive. Sometimes when I made plans with friends for the following week, they’d casually add, ‘If God allows us to stay alive until then’. But beyond all the wreckage are some of my most precious memories. Expecting death gave me the luxury of being an adventurer, even an irresponsible one.” – Zaina Erham
For those possessing an interest in the culture of journalism & the mechanisms & conundrums of the field – specifically for reporters of integrity – the book provides a slew of strong experiences exposing the various battles for independence, honesty, accountability & the freedom to challenge protected interests without diversion or denial.
Much of the book would not be considered easy reading, there is a lot of trauma & harrowing dispatches & descriptions from the vortex of violence that afflicts much of the Levant.
There is no shortage of bravery & courage, & the wealth of intense & frequently poetic testimony retain an acute power.
It is a very impressive collection of material & infoirmation, on a subject of great importance, executed with grace & courage.
Numerous authors, Vintage, 2019, 265 pages.