This is not an easy read. It is a devastating, brutal, outstanding account of Janine’s di Giovanni journey and interviews in Syria, between March and December 2012. Janine di Giovanni is a journalist that works in conflict zones for more than 20 years. She is the Middle East editor for Newsweek, and contributes to newspapers and magazines. She also advises the for Syria in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for Syria. Janine di Giovanni travels to war zones and documents war crimes while they are happening preserving the evidence of atrocities, tortures and genocides. She wants to prove that all these people, political prisoners, torture and rape victims, people who lost everything are not alone. Janine di Giovanni gives to them a voice.
In The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria, she captures the complexities of the Syrian conflict, and the lives of the people in Damascus, Alleppo, Homs and Darayya. What parents do to keep their children safe, how they are standing for hours at the queue for a loaf of bread, how families and communities get together to save themselves.
A pitched battle had started on the next street, and Carla wanted to take the children inside. We walked back to her house, glass crunching under our feet. ……. … At home, the children did not react to the machine-gun fire, which was coming in greater frequency. Naya, Carla’s twelve-year-old, looked hunched and ancient. She said to no one in particular: ‘Nobody knows where this war is going. But it has to go somewhere.’ ‘Doesn’t have to go somewhere, Mama?’ Naya repeated. ‘Doesn’t it, Mama?’ Carla was silent. ‘Mama?’ Then there was a renewed burst of machine-gas fire, and Naya went quiet.
Syria, six years on, six years of war. Bashar al-Assad seems that he won the war; He is here to stay. What does it mean for Syria? The war has destroyed the fabric of the society. Syria is a country infused with fear, anger and hate. Nine million people are displaced within Syria, another four million people left the country. Aleppo is almost obliterated form the face of the earth. Would be possible these people to go home again? So many questions and no answers. Syria will never become they country it once was. Still, the Syrians need to find a way to live together.
And, what we can do? Not much. We couldn’t stop the war or the atrocities, but at least we can be companionate to the people that come to our countries.