When Suzanne Ibrahim arrived in Östersund in the spring of 2018 as the city’s first ICORN writer in residence, she brought with her the manuscript for her book, No Pigeons in the Sky of the City. The book is written in the form of a diary and takes us to Damascus from the initial days of the Syrian people’s peaceful protests in the spring of 2011 and a year ahead. It is a personal and intimate account of events and experiences, which captures the mood of survival during the escalating conflict - from revolutionary hope into civil war and despair.
A writer and journalist, the everyday life and rights of women have dominated Suzanne Ibrahim’s writings. She has published four poetry collections titled Now I become a forest, Let the spring be, How plenty you are and A quarrel, and three collections of short stories, called Yellow woman paints with blue, As I am. As You Are and When love is coming.
Ibrahim left Syria in 2018 after being threatened and attacked by both the regime and the rebels because of her texts. She wrote No Pigeons in the Sky of the City to tell the story of daily life in a part of Syria during the time of uprising and war. It is dedicated to the children of Syria, as a reminder, not to forget the war and its consequences.
I tried to call Homs, as I do every morning, but I discovered that the landline was also silent. I looked through the window to the street, it was full of calmness and stillness. Not even the sound of one car. I was surprised and asked myself: Will it be another bad Friday?...
The news of the demonstrations began to appear on Al-Jazeera: Daraa-Al-Keswa-Idlib, while official Syrian television refuted the news via its network of correspondents. In the breaking news, I read: limited gatherings in different areas of Idlib.
I listen carefully and look through the window. My range of vision is short, as the street runs south about 50 meters ending on a corner, and the north side extends ten meters to turn towards the Tishreen area. There is no other way other than this window to see if a demonstration had begun in the neighbourhood, but I did not hear anything. The place from which the demonstration usually begins is about one kilometre away from my house. The wind plays a role in delivering the sound sometimes. I heard more than once the roar of cheers after the worshippers left the mosque following Friday prayers, like many nights after the evening prayer, demanding the overthrow of the regime.
Short extract from the book, translated from Arabic to English by Ghias Aljundi. Read the whole extract in Silent Siege on The Dissident Blog.
The book is translated from Arabic to Swedish by Anna Jansson, and published by Teg Publishing. With the support of the Swedish Arts Council, The Region of Jämtland Härjedalen and the Municipality of Östersund.
The book launch of När vinden eksploderar mot min hud: Dagbok från Damaskus (No Pigeons in the Sky of the City: A Diary from Damascus) takes place at Östersunds Bibliotek 4 September 2019, 6-9 pm.
In the media
21.08.2019 in Dagens Arena: Dagbok från Damaskus
29.08.2019 in Culte: ”Ni känner inte skräcken som brinnande kroppar sprider”
28.08.2019 in Östersunds Kommun web: Välkommen på fristadsförfattarens boksläpp
Teg Publishing: När vinden exploderar mot min hud: Dagbok från Damaskus