Growing up in a Syrian community I heard elders talk about the poverty, religious and political persecutions, and brutal military conscription that drove the first families to leave their motherland. I incorporated some of that early history in my novel Sister of Saidnaya. But little of that affected me until now, when I see bombed cities, homeless families, maimed children, and engineers building underground hospitals for heroic doctors.
Throughout Sister of Saidnaya I also described the happy times, especially the gracious hospitality and delicious food that characterizes Syrian people. Now all that impales my heart when on the news I see the little girl in Ghouta saying “I want to die so I can have food.”