Guapa by Saleem Haddad

IMG_5084Set in Syria. Reviewed on 2018/10:

I don’t want to belittle the voice coming out of #guapa . There is an urgent need in almost every corner of the world to tell all our stories, to scream them out loud and to pay attention. I know personally what it is to walk down the street next to the person you love and not being able to touch him or to look at him in a certain way or kiss him or show the world how much you love him and how full of love he makes you feel simply because you’re programmed to hide your feelings and society despises every fiber of who you are. And on top of that, you realize one day that the most hardline custodian of that prison is the same person you love. He is so deeply scared of the consequences that he becomes the number one enemy of that same love. All of that horrendous and insidious feeling becomes a never-ending virus and destroys everything endlessly… A lot of people do not know what that means. Straight people, no matter how much of an ally they are, do not know what that is. And that’s OK. They are so many experiences of which I know nothing about and it would be preposterous for me to pretend to. The real need here is for us to tell our stories and for others to listen and just sympathize, just to be a f*cking human. I truly believe that that is the goal of this book. Considering the #gay experience, the #arab experience, the #activist experience, the #pariah experience, there is an inevitable density in this book which has the power to begin a conversation and ignite people’s curiosity. My main criticism is the writing style here. I wish #haddadwould have spent more time on the questioning, on the reflections, on the observations and less on the sequence of events. But that’s it. This is the kind of story we need to hear over and over again if we are ever to hope at get it right at least 0.00001% of the time. #recommended#saleemhaddad #homophobia#islamophobia #otherpress #lgbtqi#trauma #syria #gaylove #arabliterature#queerarab #evenifimtheonlyone#humanityfailing #understanding

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