Untold stories of Syrian women surviving war
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In "I must save my life and not risk my family’s safety!”: Untold Stories of Syrian Women Surviving War, Alhayek provides several case studies of Syrian women whose lives were irreversibly changed as a result of the events that unfolded after March 2011. The stories of these women vividly illustrate how difficult it is to come up with a neat and easily accessible profile for the suffering of Syrian women. Yet, this is precisely what Western media, albeit sympathetic, has attempted to achieve. Stories on child brides being sold to wealthy old men from the Gulf, though on the surface highlighting the suffering that Syrian women have undergone, are shown by Alhayek to have grossly misrepresented not only Syrian women, who are in fact as complex and multi-faceted as their Western counterparts, but also Syrian families for being willing to take part in such arrangements in the first place. Through interviews with six Syrian women, Alhayek brings home the idea that our understanding of the Syrian Uprising must be based on stories that are collected from below rather than on stereotypes imposed from above. The case studies defy any simplified narrative that one may wish to impose on them. In one case study, for example, the army is directly responsible for killing civilians, while in the other the army is shown to have been very respectful of women, especially in the early phase of the Uprising.
Alhayek, K. (2015). Untold stories of Syrian women surviving war. Syria Studies, 7(1), pp. 1-30.
Issue title: Sympathetic stereotypes: the Syrian Uprising in western media and scholarship