Recently author Melissa Fleming spoke to UN News about her book, “A Hope More Powerful than the Sea.” Ms. Fleming is a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner on Refugees. She travels to war zones to illuminate the realities of people who have become refugees.
In this book, Ms. Fleming tells the true story of Doaa Al Zamel, a young Syrian woman who was living her normal life in Syria, with her family, when the Arab Spring uprising and subsequent Syrian army actions caused her parents to be concerned for their physical safety and flee to Egypt. Egypt became an unfriendly place for refugees as that government was overthrown only months after the family’s arrival. During this period Doaa falls in love with a resistance fighter and they become engaged and he convinces her that their safe future lies in Europe.
What follows is Doaa’s true struggle for survival. Giving their savings to smugglers for passage to safety, they find themselves on a decrepit vessel with 500 people, including one hundred children. A horrific journey follows where Doaa witnesses unbelievable horrors, death and suffering and finds the strength and courage to save as many children as she can.
Ms. Fleming’s purpose in highlighting this one young woman’s story out of so many, was to build a bridge of empathy, to increase people’s understanding of the plight of refugees and to make us care about them. She wants people to understand why these refugees have taken these risks, why they need to be accepted and why they deserve compassion. Through Doaa’s story, we can view the larger plight of Syrians living outside their country, wanting a better life and waiting to return to their own country.
Natalie Boone, AIC – UN NGO Representative
Editors Note: This book can be purchased at major retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com