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The Home That Was Our Country

A Memoir of Syria

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Alia Malek weaves a lyrical narrative around the history of her family's apartment building in the heart of Damascus, the many lives that crossed in the stairwell, and how the fates of her neighbors reflect the fate of her country.
At the Arab Spring's hopeful start, Alia Malek returned to Damascus to reclaim her grandmother's apartment, which had been lost to her family since Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1970. Its loss was central to her parent's decision to make their lives in America. In chronicling the people who lived in the Tahaan building, past and present, Alia portrays the Syrians--the Muslims, Christians, Jews, Armenians, and Kurds--who worked, loved, and suffered in close quarters, mirroring the political shifts in their country. Restoring her family's home as the country comes apart, she learns how to speak the coded language of oppression that exists in a dictatorship, while privately confronting her own fears about Syria's future.

The Home That Was Our Country is a deeply researched, personal journey that shines a delicate but piercing light on Syrian history, society, and politics. Teeming with insights, the narrative weaves acute political analysis with a century of intimate family history, delivering an unforgettable portrait of the Syria that is being erased.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 09, 2017 – Malek's (A Country Called Amreeka) multigenerational memoir is a brilliant combination of geopolitics and family history. In an accessible way to general readers, she chronicles the complex and devastating history of Syria, from the Ottoman Empire's rule and the shift to French colonization to the country's independence and the rise of the Assad regime. Malek begins with her great grandfather's success as a businessman in the early stages of Syria's independence in the 1940s and continues through Bashar Al-Assad's authoritarian regime and Malek's migration from her family's reclaimed home in Damascus, eloquently exploring grief, resilience, and loss. She is a deft reporter and storyteller. She offers first-hand accounts and her astute political analysis as she traverses countries including Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, France, and Syria. At the core of this book are the chilling effects the regime of the Assad family beginning with Hafez (Bashar's father) have on the Syrian people: sectarian rifts, disappeared citizens, extreme censorship, a bloated refugee crisis, and countless deaths in a nonstop war with humanitarian aid cut off. Malek courageously tells the stories of unforgettable family members and friends, including underground humanitarian aid workers who continue despite the risk of torture and execution.
The Home That Was Our Country
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  • $18.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Middle East
  • Published: Feb 28, 2017
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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