The name Tadmor Prison evokes images of one of the cruelest prisons in the world, with its gory history of torture and intense suffering. The prison, which ISIS seized briefly in May 2015, and was retaken a year later by governmental forces under questionable circumstances, holds a dark place in the memories of those forced to live in it during the 1980s under the Hafez al-Assad regime.
Life can be sweet or spicy, depending on who is there to share it with you. In her recent memoir, “Life without a Recipe,” Diana Abu-Jaber explores the intimate relationships in her life and how they were deeply affected by the pressures of two key figures in her life, her German grandmother Grace — who she describes as a lover of all things sugar — and her Arab father, Bud, who she emphasizes is a spice-loving man. Abu-Jaber discovers that it is not only food that divides her life between two cultures.
While preparing my report on the Holocaust of Aleppo, I felt the customary format of broadcast news did not allow me to express my feelings. Thus, I have resorted to these written words in order to release my unbearable pain after watching a father breaking and clawing at stones with his bare hands in search of his children, entombed under mountains of rubbles.
Through these words I repeat those of a wounded child in Al Sukari suburb hospital as she cried out: “Mother, help me! May God support and comfort you. My heart hurts me.”