“These women are my heroins, they represent the revolution we wanted: Secular, democratic” – Yazbek, about her book 19 women in Liberation

24 September 2019 114 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

Interview by Hala Kodmani for Liberation19Women-Cover-Fr, September 2019

In her book, the novelist and activist brings together the testimonies of those she knew and accompanied in her country at war. Nurses, teachers, mothers, often spent in prison, they survived the terror and the war without ever giving up. “Heroines” in search of a secular and democratic revolution.
Samar Yazbek: “Through the voice of these Syrian women, I want to say that we are not victims but resistants”

You made the deliberate choice to tell the Syrian conflict through women?

This collection is a part of a large work on Syrian memory that I started with In the crossfire (Buchet Chastel, 2012) and The crossing (Stock, 2015) that I wrote when I could still go to Syria . But since the end of 2013, I work remotely with the women who stayed in the field. I wanted to give them the venue to describe their part of the truth. Through these women, I want to bring out the voice of hope and say that we are not victims but resistants. They had to fight very hard battles in our patriarchal society against tradition, religion, family, power, regime, and even intellectuals who remain very macho. Even today, I was talking to a woman from Maarat al-Noman (Idlib region) during the bombing, while the Turkish-Russian war continues. She said, “I do not want to believe that Syria will not survive. I will not leave and I prefer to die here. ” This teacher, who continues her courses, represents our hopes of Syrian women. These women are my heroines and they are representative of the revolution we wanted: secular, democratic. The feminist resistance of the Syrians has no equivalent elsewhere and it gives hope to those who defend truth and freedom. They refuse to call themselves heroines, as I do. I am an artist, a novelist, I was not ready to live all this but now I have to continue.

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