This International Women’s Day #IWD2021 the media has been full of things that – to be honest – it would be nice to pretend just weren’t happening. I hope that everyone reading this has someone close to them they feel able to share their emotional load with. That emotional load ebbs and flows with daily happenings, both personally and socially. I guess if nothing else, International Women’s Day reminds us that we need to spend time unraveling the threads of our emotional load. Each conversation with a good friend helps to tease out a thread of emotion, one conversation at a time.

Doaa Al Zamel – a survival story

I recently read an amazing book by Melissa Fleming, called “A Hope More Powerful than the Sea: The journey of Doaa Al Zamel”. (I borrowed it from my local library West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation who also have a good range of audiobooks!).

Doaa and her family were caught within the 2011 siege at Daraa, their hometown in Syria. The book is a biographical account of the traumatic survival of Doaa, written by Fleming (who was the United Nations’ Chief Spokesperson at the time). As such, it is not written in Doaa’s own voice, as this review by The Guardian describes. At times the story is simplified by the author’s writing, so that sometimes it seems hardly real. This is especially true when the sheer number of refugees are described. In Syria, there are over 6 million people who have been displaced – can’t go home to their original place of residence. The number of global refugees fleeing war in Syria is around 5 million, with just under 4000 settled now in Victoria, (according to the 2016 census). 11 million people fleeing a savage war – that number is hard to comprehend. The book describes just how important it was to Doaa and her family to leave, beginning with the unrest and then the siege in their hometown, and ending with a rescue after days and days lost at sea. For me, it brought into clear focus my comfortable life, and my freedom. It was good to be reminded.

The cover of ‘A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea’, by Melissa Fleming

Looking ahead

Over the next few months, Gippsland Woman will be looking for ways to continue funding our database, hosted by this website. We believe that it can be a valuable tool to keep us all connected. If you have an idea to share, please make contact!

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