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Reviewed by:
  • The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine di Giovanni, and: A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State by Meredith Tax
  • Faedah M. Totah
Janine di Giovanni, The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria. London and New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016. Pp. xvii + 206, cloth, $25.95 US.
Meredith Tax, A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State. New York: Bellevue Literary Press, 2016. Pp. 335, paper, $19.99 US.

The war in Syria is about to enter its seventh year, but international interest in the conflict has not abated as there continues to be media coverage of the ongoing killing and displacement of Syrians. Unlike the war in Yemen, the Syrian civil war received extensive media coverage from the beginning. Journalists continue to report on Syria and from Syria, either illegally or legally, even as new conflicts erupt elsewhere in the world. Several human rights organizations continue to monitor the crimes against humanity and human rights violations in hopes that perpetrators will be brought to justice once the war is over. The refugee crisis remains a dominant issue especially in Europe as boats carrying migrants to Europe capsize in the Mediterranean Sea drowning hundreds. Refugees are a contentious political issue in Europe and have become a divisive issue in local and national elections. Many countries bar refugees from entering or place heavy restrictions on their mobility. Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, where most of the Syrian refugees are found, use them as bargaining chips when dealing with the West. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Syrian conflict still grabs people's attention around the world as its ramifications are felt beyond the region. Whether people living elsewhere are directly affected by the influx of refugees into their communities, horrified by the use of chemical weapons or the death of children and non-military civilians, the conflict is no longer confined to Syria. The Syrian war has come to exemplify the inability of the global community to manage humanitarian crises around the world. International agencies and world leaders are unable to prevent or curtail the suffering of people by [End Page 254] their own governments. Moreover, many Western countries that decry the atrocities committed by other regimes are complicit in many of the wars and conflicts they rhetorically condemn. Hence, part of the enduring interest in the war in Syria has much to do with what the war says about global governance and the condition of humanity in the twenty-first century.

It comes as no surprise that the conflict in Syria has resulted in the publication of dozens of books for the general public. Written by journalists or scholars who have worked on Syria before the war and who have not, or Syrians still living in Syria or those who have left, these books attempt to make sense of the war in Syria to a lay audience. Two of the latest books published demonstrate how the war continues to resonant with audiences worldwide. The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria, written by veteran journalist Janine di Giovanni, offers a straightforward account of war. It captures how Syrians were stunned by the unraveling, almost overnight, of their homeland into warring sectarian factions. However, the seasoned war correspondent underscores that what is happening in Syria has occurred in other parts of the world, and that civil wars remain a major preoccupation of foreign relations in the twenty-first century. On the other hand, in A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State, Meredith Tax addresses the conflict in Syria from another viewpoint. Her focus becomes the underreported activities of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian Kurdish leftist organization operating in northern Syria. Tax writes where di Giovanni ends with the rise of Daesh (the Islamic State) that re-wrote the conflict in Syria as a war on terror. Although the PYD was established in 2003, it came to international attention when it scored victories during battles with Daesh in 2014. However, and according to Tax less attention was paid to the "non-statist democracy" they were establishing in Rojava, in northern Syria, that is "multilingual, multireligious, multiethnic, and multicultural...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2291-1847
Print ISSN
2291-1855
Pages
pp. 254-260
Launched on MUSE
2018-04-07
Open Access
No
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