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A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea summary

Melissa Fleming

One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival

20 mins

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A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea by Melissa Fleming is a moving true story of a Syrian refugee's journey to Europe. It highlights the power of hope and resilience in the face of unimaginable adversity.

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    A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea
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    In the heart of southwest Syria, the city of Daraa lies close to the Jordanian border and is a short, two-hour drive from the capital city of Damascus. It was once famed for its agriculture, producing figs, apples, olives, and pomegranates that were exported far and wide. It was even said that Daraa's abundance could feed the entirety of Syria.

    But time, as it often does, had different plans for Daraa. By 2007, a harrowing drought had consumed Syria. Farmers, forced to abandon the fields they once loved, sought refuge and work in the cities, with Daraa being a sanctuary for many. Some say this massive upheaval and displacement sowed the seeds of discontent that, by 2011, erupted into powerful protests. This, of course, would turn into the horrific Syrian Civil War.

    But let’s rewind back to 2001, when Daraa was still a safe haven and six-year-old Doaa Al Zamel was growing up. A new dawn was rising in Syria, with Bashar al-Assad taking up the presidency after the long reign of his father, Hafez. A collective breath of hope was held by the Syrian populace; they were envisioning a brighter future under this young leader. The air was thick with anticipation – a belief that the oppressive emergency law, long used as a shield to stifle dissent, would finally be lifted and herald in a new era of freedoms and rights.

    But throughout the rest of Doaa’s childhood, these changes didn’t surface. And then, in 2010, everything changed. A young Tunisian named Mohamed Bouazizi, driven by despair and frustration, set himself ablaze. This act was more than just a personal outcry – it was the spark that ignited the Arab Spring.

    The news spread, and the streets of Daraa and beyond hummed with excitement and trepidation. There were those who dreamed of change, like young Doaa, yearning for a world where her aspirations were not tethered by tradition. Would Syria, too, feel the tremors of revolution? 

    As the first protests began to emerge across the Arab world, millions of people, including the Al Zamel family, were filled with hope. What might this ripple effect mean for them and their Syrian homeland?

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    What is A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea about?

    A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea (2017) introduces you to Doaa Al Zamel, a young Syrian girl whose world turns upside down after the eruption of her country's civil war. Embarking on a perilous journey to Europe for safety and a better future, she confronts challenges that test her limits. 

    Who should read A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea?

    • Anyone wanting to empathize with the experiences of refugees
    • Activists and advocates for humanitarian causes
    • Seekers of profound stories of human resilience

    About the Author

    Melissa Fleming is the chief spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR. She actively works in war zones and refugee camps, drawing attention to the plight of those forcibly displaced.

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