Bloomsbury to Publish My Country by Kassem Eid
A Syrian Memoir
An unforgettable memoir of growing up in Syria under al-Assad’s regime, surviving a gas attack, and rallying worldwide support to break the siege of cities across the country, with a foreword by Janine di Giovanni
Born to Palestinian refugees, Kassem Eid grew up in the small town of Moadamiya on the outskirts of the ancient city of Damascus. The streets that he and his many siblings played on were perfumed with jasmine. A precocious child, he excelled at school, and had a natural gift for languages. But it didn’t take long for Kassem to realise that he was treated differently at school because of his family’s resistance to the brutal government regime.
When Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father in 2000, hopes that he would ease its severity were swiftly crushed. When the 2011 Arab Spring protests in Syria were met with extreme violence, it was yet another blow – and as Kassem reached young adulthood, life in Syria became increasingly precarious, as the country spiralled into civil war.
Then, on 21 August 2013, Kassem nearly died in a sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians. Later that day, he would pick up a gun for the first time, to join the Free Syrian Army as they fought government forces. For Kassem, this marked the moment that he and his country changed forever.
A searing account of oppression, war, survival and escape, My Country is both a brave and deeply felt memoir of one man’s life, as well as a compelling indictment of a world that turned its face away as a nation fell apart.
- With his significant international profile, Kassem Eid will attract widespread publicity. In 2014 he did a speaking tour of the US and his hunger strike was supported by prominent figures including Noam Chomsky
- With an introduction by Janine di Giovanni, who has been a war reporter for over twenty years and has won numerous prizes, including, most recently, the 2016 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award
- For readers of The Home That Was Our Country by Alia Malek, A Hope More Powerful than the Sea by Melissa Fleming and I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
“An account of oppression, war, survival and escape as the world ignored what was going on. A touching tale, this humanises the story of war when often all we want to do is look away” – Metro, The best new books by BME authors you’ll be reading this year
Author’s Bio: Kassem Eid is a Palestinian–Syrian rebel and human rights activist. In 2014 he went on a speaking tour across the United States and testified before the United Nations Security Council. He has contributed to the New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, and was interviewed on 60 Minutes. He is currently a refugee living in Germany.