BookBrowse Reviews A Disappearance in Damascus by Deborah Campbell

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A Disappearance in Damascus

Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War

by Deborah Campbell

A Disappearance in Damascus by Deborah Campbell X
A Disappearance in Damascus by Deborah Campbell
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2017, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2018, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rose Rankin

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Through its compelling story of two women caught up in the shadowy politics behind today's conflict, A Disappearance in Damascus reminds us of the courage of those who risk their lives to bring us the world's news.

A Disappearance in Damascus chronicles the real-life story of Ahlam, an Iraqi refugee who is abducted by the Syrian secret police, and the attempts by the author, Deborah Campbell, to find her. While researching an article on refugees living in Syria, Campbell needed help understanding the local culture and locating sources to interview. Through a fellow journalist she was introduced to Ahlam, living in Damascus in 2007, at the height of the Iraq war. Ahlam is a "fixer," someone who sets up interviews, facilitates contacts, and interprets local languages and customs for journalists.

When Campbell meets her, Ahlam is a central figure in the Iraqi refugee community, which was growing precipitously in Syria. University-educated, Ahlam took over her father's farm upon his death, and started working as a fixer for journalists in the 1990s, an atypical and dangerous profession for an ...

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