Ms. Janine di Giovanni, one of Europe’s most respected reporters, chronicles the hardships inflicted upon adults and children alike, telling tales both gruesome and emotional in her new book, “The Morning They Came for Us” (Liveright, 2016). From her visits to Syria in 2012, di Giovanni gathered stories, speaking with a diverse group of people including pro-Assad nuns, regime doctors, and civilian activists...“The Morning They Came for Us” provides rich content that can be difficult to find in daily news coverage alone. The tales paint a complicated, sometimes counter-intuitive picture. Often times, those suffering do not wish to discuss their situations, whether out of pride or shame...As such, the details of actual victims remain well hidden or outright ignored. However, di Giovanni tirelessly uncovers some of those stories, exposing a reality filled with violence and cruelty….The different accounts, as heartbreaking as they are gruesome, feature people such as Nada, a young woman who grew up near Qardaha, and fell prey to the depredations of the secret police. After her capture, she suffered humiliation, beatings, and whippings, before ultimately being raped….Another man, a student named Hussein, explained how his participation in a peaceful demonstration led to his being horrifically shot, captured, tortured, and then left to die after they cut open his abdomen. The young man claimed that he only survived because a pro-regime doctor took pity on him, declared him dead, and then allowed him escape from the morgue. (The above are excerpts are from a longer Editor’s Notebook essay to appear in forthcoming Al Jadid, Vol. 20, No. 71, 2016).
In photo: Author Janine di Giovanni from (www.france24.com).