The Wrong End of the Telescope by  Rabih Alameddine

The Wrong End of the Telescope

Rabih Alameddine

You expect a book about refugee migration and medical aid might feature horrific terror, suffering and loss on an epic scale. The personal experiences of hope and passivity are brought into sharp focus by Mina's limited ability to help, with scarce supplies and compassion fatigue. For me, the telling aspect is the biting portrayal of young volunteers whose only concerns are inflating their online profiles and where their hormones might lead them.


Sammy began to guess at the danger they were in when he first heard of the murders. Anyone who disagreed with Daesh was killable. Christians, Muslims, it didn't matter, Sammy said. If they didn't like you, you were either an infidel or an apostate. They executed many and sent severed heads back to the families. Sumaiya and he understood that they should leave the area, go anywhere else - Turkey, Lebanon - but they were worried about their families. His parents had passed away a long time ago, but he had four brothers and two sisters. Sumaiya's mother was still alive. She lived about an hour away, which meant they were seeing her less and less. Still, they couldn't take the grandchildren away from her. They stayed - suffered and stayed until they were left with no choice.

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