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.”
When talking about what is happening in Syria, I face the inability of language to express reality. My vocabulary remains limited. My ability to describe reality, the basic forms of literature and writing, remains limited. Nothing I have written or read could be elevated to the level of one moment of the reality experienced by Syrians in their disastrous country, or in their great Diaspora into which they were unmercifully pushed.