This article is also available in: Italiano
“La nostra Siria grande come il mondo” is a book written with an open heart that will be able to make us experience the family epic of the Hamadi, finally giving a voice to Mohamed and providing insights into the Syrian situation
La nostra Siria grande come il mondo
Mohamed and Shady Hamadi, a father and a son, two stories linked by one land: Syria. For one place of birth, of childhood and of a regime from which to escape, for the other place of the search for oneself and the desire to return; for both of them a denied place, a wound to be reckoned with. In this book, two generations talk and tell each other, discovering a dialogue that has not always been easy: different paths, anxieties, aspirations. Adventurous and surprising is the life of Mohamed who for a long time hid from his son what he had suffered in Syrian prisons: out of modesty, fear of not being understood and out of an idea of protection. Shady’s experience is intimate and tormented, straddling two worlds, Syria and Italy, in search of an identity. Their voices alternate chapter after chapter, and the story of Syria fifty years ago, of what it meant to have to escape to save themselves from the regime, is intertwined with the present of those who have to leave a nation, Italy, where it seems impossible to realize your dreams. Gradually, in a dialogue that is becoming more and more intense, the awareness emerges that one can be a stranger everywhere and feel at home in the world at the same time. “Why do we run away, and why did it take us two so long to tell each other? Why, for years, have we not found the words, me to ask for the right things, and my father to tell his story? The war was the event that opened a closed door for years, as in a game of mirrors, in which our images began to reflect each other. Syria was something that concerned both of us. ”
Small but necessary premise
This is one of those texts written so openly that it is really difficult to analyze it because one is terrified of going to touch extremely intimate and private elements. I hope that the two magnificent writers will forgive me if I ever make any mistakes or errors of understanding, I will do my best to report what this book has transmitted to me.
If you are interested in hearing the opinion of Shady Hamadi, I invite you to attend today’s live (03/04/21) at 18.00 on the Middle East and Surroundings Youtube channel; alternatively you can retrieve it deferred in the same place. I really thank both Shady and Add Editore for providing me with a copy of the book.
The text leads us to discover the history of the Hamadi family but, compared to the two previous books (“Felicità araba” and “Esilio dalla Siria“), here it will not be the only Shady to speak but for the first time he will be accompanied by his father, Mohamed, the first person narrator of his destiny. This difference is significant in several respects, but above all because it will help to really understand the” why ” of many aspects and ties to this family and to Shady, previously only intuited by the protagonist himself and now finally revealed by his father.
His “wanderings” are fundamental both to understand the Syrian regime’s way of acting, and to better understand what was the reality of the Middle East from the “60s to the 80s”, a fundamental period that is often told through “great events “, while here you really discover what it meant to experience them as a young commoner in love with his own land. Living in Milan since I was born, I then found the details relating to the Lombard capital and Sesto San Giovanni almost touching, places I met in one of the most intense phases of my life and which, told by lovers like Shady and Mohamed, they cannot fail to bring back to a past atmosphere that is missed so much. Very sweet and significant how the process of “integration” of Mohamed took place, which can be said to all intents and purposes a living symbol of coexistence between peoples.
Between the two protagonists it is undoubtedly the one that surprised me the most, because, having recently read “Esilio dalla Siria”, I was convinced I would have found more or less the same “character”, while it is clear that there have been some significant evolutions linked to his being. In the previous book, in fact, we see him mostly in the middle of the Syrian crisis, committed to a continuous and tireless coming and going between Lebanon and Italy; here, on the other hand, there is a total “upgrade” which, however, is also linked to a sort of “slowdown” in terms of frenzy and activities in the field. In addition to the very deep relationship with his mother, whose death will give the two protagonists the opportunity to “rediscover themselves”, “La nostra Siria grande come il mondo” also makes us discover what happened between the writing of a book and another. , helping us better understand today’s Shady.
After “Esilio dalla Siria”, he will devote himself more than ever to journalism and promotion activities, obtaining a lot of satisfaction but almost no gain, leading him to different reflections but similar to those made by his father many years earlier. In fact, Shady too will find himself leaving for a new land, London, and he too will marry an Italian, proposing a mantra of coexistence that seems to be inscribed in the DNA of the Hamadi.
Where is Syria? In the world
The most evident evolution compared to the previous text, however, is undoubtedly Syria, the absolute protagonist in the first case and “memory” in this one. It seems evident in various points of the text how, due to the dramatic progress of the Syrian conflict and its involvement of foreign powers, the flame of hope for this country is always alive, but ever more tenuous, like a candle that, consumed by so many tears of wax, he begins to see his fire more and more shy and lighter. Let me be clear: Shady’s commitment to Syria, this is equally evident, is not finished and will never end, but it is clear that the focus has varied, passing from a love for the land to a love for the people.
I don’t know if this is the explanation behind the title, but I think that “as big as the world” refers to the Syrian people, now scattered in so many parts of the globe that, in a certain sense, the world has become Syria and this last, it has become like Andalusia described by Darwish, a sort of abstract place, at times more connected with the fantastic than with the real, but always present in the heart of every Syrian. If you haven’t done so yet, I really invite you to buy the book because, in addition to being sure you will like it, I would really like anyone who has read this article to read his book and try to give his answer; Shady’s will be available in Italian on Youtube.
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