We are thrilled to be hosting Alia Malek for the publication of her book THE HOME THAT WAS OUR COUNTRY: A Memoir of Syria. Alia will be joined in conversation by NPR's Leila Fadel.
At the Arab Spring’s hopeful start, Alia Malek returned to Damascus to reclaim her grandmother’s apartment, which had been lost to her family since Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1970. Its loss was central to her parent’s decision to make their lives in America. In chronicling the people who lived in the Tahaan building, past and present, Alia portrays the Syrians—the Muslims, Christians, Jews, Armenians, and Kurds—who worked, loved, and suffered in close quarters, mirroring the political shifts in their country. Restoring her family’s home as the country comes apart, she learns how to speak the coded language of oppression that exists in a dictatorship, while privately confronting her own fears about Syria’s future.
The Home That Was Our Country is a deeply researched, personal journey that shines a delicate but piercing light on Syrian history, society, and politics. Teeming with insights, the narrative weaves acute political analysis with a century of intimate family history, ultimately delivering an unforgettable portrait of the Syria that is being erased.
Alia Malek is an award-winning journalist and civil rights lawyer. She is the author of A Country Called Amreeka and editor of Patriot Acts and EUROPA. Her reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Nation, Christian Science Monitor, and more.
Leila Fadel is the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and most recently was National Public Radio’s international correspondent based in Cairo, Egypt. From 2011 to 2012, Fadel served as the Cairo bureau chief for the Washington Post and previously her foreign coverage of the devastating human toll of the Iraq war earned her the George R. Polk award in 2007.
At the Arab Spring's hopeful start, Alia Malek returned to Damascus to reclaim her grandmother's apartment, which had been lost to her family since Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1970. Its loss was central to her parent's decision to make their lives in America.