Three days of Syrian exile

Three days of Syrian exile
Three days of Syrian exile

The writing of the Syrian novelist, Rosa Yassin Hassan (1974), in “In Search of the Wool Ball”, is similar to a lullaby, which is a refugee’s lullaby. That is, people who have lost their homelands, have lost their first places, and now they have to look for “opportunities for integration.” The essence of her search for what the refugee lost, about what he owned and possessed, and then, by losing it, he found himself in new places looking for opportunities to say. The novel, which was published last year by “Dar Riyad Al-Rayyes”, is a long text on the possibilities of saying the refugee; They are possibilities related to what the memory carried, and what it wanted to get rid of. They are refugees due to the war, and the abuse of man who turned his first place into hell. And his exit from it is a search for a lost paradise, which will distance him from the hell that he made.

In her novel, Rosa Yassin Hassan writes about the Syrian exile, drawing it through the diaries of the three days. The novel was published under the subtitle “Three Days of the Labyrinth of Exile.” The subtitle says that the novel is not about exile; but about his labyrinth. And the reader will fall upon the need to allocate the subtitle, because the written characters who speak the novel with their tongues and conditions, are a group of the lost, not just the exiles. And they are lost, because they did not sever their ties with their country, and they are still searching, or seeking, for justice in their country. They are stuck in an area between the two countries, between here and there, pinning hopes for the freedom and salvation of their country, with a helpless awareness of the difficulty of this.

Freedom appears among the Syrian exiles as an exercise in living

It seemed that the exile, with the opportunities it gave the characters to say, made them fall into a second hypothesis, which is their inability to change. It is true that they gained part of their freedom, but with it they gained their awareness that it is freedom outside captive homelands, even as if it was another restriction in their awareness of what led them to exile; It is the fighting that shows a revolution, and it shows a war of the regime against the people, a war of Turkey against the Kurds, and a war of terrorist groups against the people; A war that combines all this, intensifies it, and eliminates existence outside violence. Even as if exile is the violence of being expelled from a place, and the violence of forced departure.

References to the violence of exile appear automatically in the diaspora of the characters and their tendency to be violated in their sexual identity. What we see best in the homosexual man who seeks on the first day to be a violator, and ends on the third day in founding an association to defend homosexuals from the children of immigrants. It is true that the narration is about three days in exile, but there is no indication that they were connected days. What is certain is that they are consecutive days, because the characters begin in one place and end in another, within a context truncated from the life of the exiles. The text is a conversation in exile, a conversation cut from a topic that seemed endless, while Sarmad is a character who has been searching for love. In changing his awareness of the love his body deserves, we see what the opportunity to be free does.

Freedom, among the Syrian exiles, appears as an exercise in living. Let us not forget that they came out of a country that was suppressing even their ideas, and they ended up in a country that seemed to be the first thing to liberate them, liberating them from their ideas. The body for Rosa Yassin Hassan is the variable from which she reads the condition of her exiles; We also read the story of the woman who lives without love affairs, because she was not freed from the idea of ​​marriage, and this idea belongs to the country of the past, to the country of the past that continued to live in and through refugees.

Conflicts do not only appear in the identity of the body, in its confusion, in its discovery of its energies, they also appear in the fate of families; They are arduous struggles, because the exile was not as meek as those who had come out of the war expected. In turn, he was familiar with new struggles related to education and growing up amid the dangers of freedom. I say “dangers,” because the shackles are not only in the hands, but inside the head. Thus, we read the diaspora of children in belonging to extremist religious currents. This is no coincidence. Extremism is the way the author chose to talk about the violence of exile, which conveys to refugee children the feeling that they are threatened by right-wing forces, threatened by their differences. And before that, they are threatened because they are basically uprooted from their homelands because of the war. 

“Integration” has become a term that encapsulates, alienates and excludes man

Yassin Hassan’s writing is a lullaby, because Hadeel kept searching for Milad, her lover who was killed by his motherland, and continued to live inside her. Is hope alive within her, which is the hope of salvation, the hope of return, and the hope of freedom before any other hope?
Rosa Yassin Hassan’s writing searches for a proposal that alleviates the cruelty of extortion and the violence of exile. A suggestion we see in the sympathy that Miriam represents, we see it in the association that Sarmad establishes. Before, or parallel to, this, we see it in the suggestion that the psychiatrist makes for one of the characters to write.

It is as if writing, love and sympathy are a compensation that the exile believes, the exile needs, the exile develops, the exile heals around him, because the opportunities for justice in his country no longer exist, and the opportunities for familiarity with his mother tongue are also no longer possible, as he is exiled, and his old world is still alive only in Inside him, while the new world he has reached does not stop exporting to him that within the inevitability of “integration” he suffers another inevitability, which is the inevitability of non-integration; The matter that comes from the violence of the language that made a term like “integration” a term that envelops, alienates and excludes man.

A novelist from Syria


Rosa Yassin Hassan was born in Damascus in 1974, grew up in Latakia, graduated from the Faculty of Architecture there in 1998, and has lived in Germany since 2012. In addition to her literary works, she writes for Arab and foreign periodicals and is active in several women’s associations. Her novels include: “Ebony” (2004), “Negatives: From the Memories of Political Prisoners” (2007), “Guardians of the Air” (2009), “Profa” (2011), and “Those Who Have Been Touched by Magic” (2016). ), and “Between the Ropes of Water” (2019).