A land of permanent goodbyes – Atia Abawi
The A land of permanent goodbyes is a journey that takes the reader from Syria to Turkey, from Turkey to Greece and from Greece to Germany, moving through the darkest of mysteries: the human soul.
Tareq leads us – by hand – along this trip where the hope is a ghost that appears and disappears and, like ghosts, there are those who believe in it and those who don’t. The Destiny tells the story of a teenager who does not surrender to war and believes in ghosts and hope.
A building hit by a bomb and everything is changed. A fifteenyear old will travel accompanied by what’s left of his large family, ready to find his place in the world.
Who is Daesh for a kid?
<< They are horrible. if they are the God soldiers, God is the devil.>>
Cause when you are young, things are more simple and logical, and that is what makes this story special. The author, I don’t know how, managed to narrate the events with the simplicity and purityof a child soul, a reason that tell us how Atia Abawi must necessarily be an extraordinary woman.
<< They arrive convinced to give a reason to their own livestaking oxygen from ours lives.>> Cause after the God soldiers, the city is no longer the same for Tareq, Susan and Musa.
And Tareq is curious: << how this Islam is >> asks to Raqqa’scousin in the place where they found refuge after the destructionof their home in Syria: << they don’t know anything about Islam, most of them don’t has ever read the Koran in his life … >>
What I particularly appreciated about this novel is the simplicitywith which the difficult Syrian situation is explained. The author, as well as a journalist and a war reporter, succeeded, remainingover the rules, just like the fate, tracing the main lines of a paththat at the end and trying to simplify, we call war. But war, like peace, has many faces and the same enemies often, wearing our own clothes.
<< If they are Salafis, why are they not all Saudis? >>
<< Manyof them are, but the Saudis have used oil revenues to spread this deadly disease. They have so much money to print and spread their version of the Koran. >>
And this is what Tareq will learn in Raqqa. The journey is continuing and Tareq, accompanied by his cousin Musa, arrives in Turkey where – he hopes – he could earn enough for him, hisfather, his sister finally reaching Europe’s dream. And I askmyself: who knows if among our ancestors there were some small Tareq when they embarked themselves searching the fortune towards the new continent …
In Turkey the young protagonist will start understanding that not everyone gives to life the same importance and value. His work doesn’t have the same value and the same and for some, his humble and tiring work doesn’t even deserve a pay. Destiny, like a silent specter, weaves the web of his life and helps him moving forward. Excessive rush of hope or madness? Survivalinstinct, and this feeling unknown us, the author teaches us. Shedoesn’t explain it us or write it us. She teaches it us thanks to Tareq and the fair and unfair destiny.
We should all take note. << When the heart is pure but the eyeshave seen atrocities like that, the body goes into a survival mode. >>
From a certain moment on, Tareq will stop (unjustly) to feeling like a teenager and he will understand to be – by now – somethingthat he doesn’t know: a refugee.
<< If there are refugees, it means that we have all lost. >>
But someone can make a profit from it, like who sells copy of lifejackets on the coast to those who are about to embark on a desperate journey searching a world in which, from the sky, thereare no cluster bombs. On one boat there are those who run awayfrom Daesh and those from the Taliban: Tareq will understand that the enemy, in addition to having a thousand faces, can have a thousand names.
A desperate and dangerous journey, close to the limits of humanity. Cold, hunger and death. Here’s what the protagonistwill experience, but even in this case destiny will surprise us …
<< When minds meet, communication can happen without words. Generally it lasts pieces of a second, sometimes a whole life and even beyond. >>
Because within the most unthinkable situations that hopemanifests itself. Maybe…
You never get safe from certain journeys. If you survive (becausewe are talking about survival and not about life) you still see deathon the faces of those who pass beside you and then death itselfcome inside you, and you can feel it even if it is not yours.
<< When the soul feels too much, but the traumas nestle in the heart. >>
Whoever undertakes that kind of journey, after all, knows that hasnothing to lose behind him cause he has lost everything by now: “Bombs fell on us, do you think some waves scare me?”
<<Ci cadevano addosso le bombe, pensi che qualche onda mi spaventi?>>
Perhaps even the survival instinct trains and this is why you can always go one step beyond death. Tareq trains his instinct but he will be human enough not to lose heart because destiny will givehim the gift of a special meeting: “those who help”.
Those who help the world to be a better place, know very well that sooner or later they will need help and that is why they are alwayshelping more.
I have read and read again many passages of the book, many havemade me thinking, others have upset me but one, in particular, I completely agree: “the war had transformed them from doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers, students, mothers, fathers and children to refugees, foreigners, parasites, terrorists, enemies. Labels that did not represent THEIR REAL MEANS. ”
Human dignity goes beyond labels.
Here is the message that this book is launching to the world: moving beyond the labels, beyond what destiny seems to haveestablished for us. Let us transforming into those who help and that are able to change the world really. Shall we continue to look romantically at the sea after this reading? I hope not. I hope so with all my heart.
I would like to thanks Atia Abawi for sharing with me her book and the publishing house for the collaboration with my literaryblog.