“The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet….Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places….We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
– J.K. Rowling, author, philanthropist, and founder of the children’s charity, Lumos
I am a Syrian national, who has been living in Europe for a while and is doing his second Master’s degree in Social Studies.
When I was a child, we were told everywhere in Syria that even an innocent thought, which might be interpreted as an insult against the president or the authorities, would send us to prison. Hence, I believe that most Syrians and I were raised in such an environment where one is expected to agree with whatever comes from the ruling powers without even having a right to question their ideas. Such an environment, which is based upon dictatorship, injustice and tyranny, led to the outbreak of the Syrian revolution that later on turned into a bloody civil war. A countless number of Syrians have been affected by the actions of the conflicting parties, mainly the Syrian regime. I personally paid a very high price for the fact that I opposed the Syrian regime. I lost three people who were very close to me. The security forces burned my parents’ house, and my parents were forced to flee to another neighborhood.
In Europe, when I meet new people and I tell them that I am Syrian, I get asked the very same questions: “what is really happening in your country?” “Why are there so many Syrian refugees in Europe?” To me, regardless of how sad this sort of questions makes me feel, it is just such a hard thing to explain in 2 or 3 sentences, as the situation is indeed complex especially for those who are not familiar with the Syrian culture as well as history. Therefore, I came up with an idea to make a graphic novel, which combines true stories that happened to my friends, relatives and myself.
As I mentioned before, this work is based on a number of true stories/incidents that happened to people very close to me.
My graphic novel includes 8 chapters as follows: The Spark, Damascus In The Picture, The Biggest Fear, The Call, For A While In Darkness 1, For A While In Darkness 2, The Light Of The Sky and The Home That Is Not Home.
With this graphic novel, I am striving to convey a very important humanitarian message, in hope of breaking the common stereotypes about my country Syria and refugees (Syrians in particular and non-Syrians in general). Further, this graphic novel is very informative concerning what has been happening in Syria since day one of the revolution until it turned into a civil war.
I created this blog, which is my very first blog, to share with you the progress of my graphic novel as well as relevant content that might widen your understanding of the Syrian situation.
This project is so important to me, and I believe that it carries a significant message that should be out there. The good news is, I am more than halfway through !
Cheers and peace