Our second Book Cafe is coming up on Sunday, December 2, 1-3 PM featuring A Hope More Powerful Than The Sea: The Journey of Doaa Al Zamel. RSVP by emailing me at email@example.com.
"Nervously they waited to board. Doaa shifted from foot to foot in the long line to get through customs. Hamudi clutched his mother's arm, while Saja and Nawara sat on their suitcases, standing only to shuffle forward whenever the line moved. It felt as if every part of the journey were about waiting. Jordanian customs officials seemed to be singling out Syrians for security searches, and Doaa's family was asked to come forward with their luggage, while a group of Egyptian travelers were waved through. Doaa lifted her suitcase onto the table in front of the customs officers. When they unzipped her luggage, she looked at what she had hastily selected in the overwhelmingly emotional last hours at home: two dresses, a couple of pairs of pants, two blazers, a few skirts, several veils, and a few accessories. She stared at the meager contents of her suitcase and thought of the books she had left behind because they were too heavy - one about dream interpretation, a few novels, poetry by Nizar Qabbani, and a workbook on English grammar. She pictured her small teddy bear that lit up and made a kissing sound when she squeezed it, and her fashion sketches of clothes she dreamed of wearing in a future she no longer had." (from Chapter 4, Life as a Refugee)
The sheer number of refugees, worldwide, reached more than 25 million last year. That alone can be overwhelming, not to mention the rhetoric in our newsfeed which demonizes and dehumanizes refugees as standard course. I chose this book as part of my own effort to keep human voices front and center.
The UNHCR reports that the majority of refugees right now are from Syria, where an estimated 6.3 million have fled their homes to escape ongoing conflict. As the note from Doaa at the end of the book explains,
"In this book, I have shared my suffering with you. It is only a small glimpse of the hardship and pain that refugees around the world endure. I represent just one voice among the millions who risk their lives every day in order to live a life of dignity."
If you're interested to join but not sure you'll have time to read the whole book, don't worry! Email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can share an excerpt which will be our focal point for discussion.
For reference, here is the complete Book Cafe plan for the year - stay tuned as I'm swapping out the next book to align with a very exciting announcement, coming soon!