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  • ★★★★-4

Review: Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa (Spoiler-Free)

We danced. We cried. We dreamed. And imagined a better world. Then, we waited for fate to fall on our heads from American war planes.

Reading this book in conjunction with watching season 5 of Homeland for my Politics of Television course was a trippy experience. This being a harrowing first-person account of navigating life in the Middle East among unwanted Western intervention, and Homeland being, well... Homeland. Not to completely discount the show, because it does introduce the idea that Western intervention has only inflated conflict, but it doesn't exactly double down on it or commit to any real statement. That notion is only floated and then thrown to the wind because how could we seriously entertain it when we need the American spy show to stay an American spy show? Against the Loveless World, on the other hand, commits to its ideology and makes for a much more insightful narrative.

I don't have much to say because I feel like I won't do it justice, but know that while so much of this story is grotesque, there is still so much to find beautiful. I was not expecting one of the most heart-wrenching romances I've ever read to bloom out of the misery that Nahr had to work through for the first half of the book.

I find that reporters and writers who come here don’t actually want to listen to me or hear my thoughts, except where I might validate what they already believe.

The present timeline chapters, of Nahr as a prisoner in the Cube, reminded me of an article we read for the same class I discussed before. The way journalists approach reporting on horrific political traumas is so steeped in the West's obsession with narrative that it loses all sense of basic human empathy. I'd recommend giving Mohamad Katoub's piece, A Doctor in Syria , a read.


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