“It’s the poor people who suffer most, at the hands of the powerful, the mighty who pull the strings and the levers.”
Tima Kurdi, “The Boy On The Beach”
Tima Kurdi takes us to a place that is uncomfortable and unrefined. I would be lying to you if I were to say this is an uplifting and motivational non-fiction piece of work, its not. Its raw. Its honest. Its harrowing. But, more than anything, it is an essential read of our time. This book is a memoir to her family, but also a prayer that humanity will open its eyes to the devastation in Syria.
Kurdi begins the novel with her memories of growing up in her homeland of Syria; she paints a beautiful imagine of the jasmine filled streets of Damascus and the joy that filled her family home. Kurdi as a little girl dreamed of travelling to other countries and living abroad, so when the opportunity as a young woman came for her to move to Canada it seemed like a natural choice, although the marriage that led her there may not have been. Throughout the book we see members of Kurdi’s family that fight to remain in Syria, they can see no other place as their home, even though the Syria they live in is no longer the jasmine scented Syria of their childhood. Kurdi has a large family and we get a glimpse into each of her family members unique struggles, but the main focus is her brother Abdullah and his family. Primarily Kurdi focus’s on Abdullah’s son, Alan, the famous “Boy On The Beach”.
Why I Loved This Book
This photo changed the talk surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis, I remember seeing this photo on CBC news for the first time and being stunned by such a graphic image. It was powerful, moving, and unforgettable. The controversy and misinformation that surrounded the image is unfortunate, as Kurdi describes in detail in the book. Nonetheless, this was an image that changed the world and led people to begin talking about the civil war in Syria in a different light. Hearing stories and listening to chatter about the war was one thing, but this image felt so relatable in an extraordinary way. The child, Alan, could be any child you might see on the street. This image made clear the innocent of refugees and their desperation for safety, and this Kurdi details this in the book.
For the duration of the book we can see Kurdi doing absolutely everything she can to save her family. Her tone of desperation in the novel is evident, and justified.
Throughout the novel we are reminded that this story from Kurdi is not that different from the stories that are happening around the world with the millions of other Syrian refugees fighting to survive.
What I Learned From This Book
We must wake up to the crisis in Syria and advocate for refugees.
People in Syria, and other parts of the world going through civil wars an ethnic genocides just want to live. Everyone has the right to life, where you were born on the globe should not affect this.
The history of the Middle East is complex, as is the history of all countries, and we should educate ourselves on the reality of Syria and understand that this country has not always been as broken as it currently is.
The refugee crisis is real, and we need to stand up and tell our governments that we need to accept more refugees. We need to save lives.
Tags: biography, book review, books, kurdi, literature, non fiction, novel, syria, turkey, writing