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With love from an Ignorant American

Though much of the world has nearly forgotten the heinous conditions in Syria, which have not let up. Let's not forget. In reading about the most recent chemical attack in Syria (the only one reported on, but definitely not the only one to happen this year) I was met mostly with the politics of the situation. Who's on what side, and who's to blame. Meanwhile, thousands of Syrians are again being forced to flee their homes, on top of the 130,000 who've recently fled.

I know of one group, and there are likely others, on the ground with the Syrians, providing care and food and comfort where they can. The Preemptive Love Coalition (@preemptivelove) has been reporting the true situation, politics aside, and sharing the needs of the people. They give raw, live insight to the conditions in Syria. One photo I saw was of an old man in the middle of a street. The buildings on both sides were in ruins. It looked like it had once been a beautiful city. The sun was shining. Was the old man remembering days when things were better? When those beautiful streets were still intact?

In the face of all this tragedy, I'm humbled by my writing project. How I can even begin to understand what these people face every day? The ones who flee, and the ones who stay in war-torn countries. But I'm more convinced than ever that the US, and others in the world, need this message.

As I write this story from a fictional American refugee perspective, I'm finding it hard to imagine how an American would react. There are plenty in this country who live with hardships day in and day out. Poverty, racism, and violent crimes are rampant in America. For the most part, though, none of us can fathom what it would be like to live in constant terror. To be afraid of being attacked in your own home. It's outside our scope of experience.

Throwing my characters through tragic scenarios forces me to picture myself in these situations in order to write a believable and compelling story. It makes me grateful for my tiny house, even my postage-stamp sized kitchen. I want to take nothing I'm lucky enough to have for granted. But I also want to stand in solidarity with those who are suffering, and who are fleeing their homes, all over the world. Their lives are so valuable and precious. I want to do what I can through this book to open as many sheltered and entitled eyes I can, including my own.

During college I took a wonderful literature class in which we read books written by women around the world who had overcome horrible life circumstances. I remember one memoir in particular about a woman who risked her life to flee North Korea with her children. By the end of that term, I was determined to write to give a voice to the voiceless in the world. Only with God's help can I begin to live up to that dream! Hopefully this book is the first of many such stories.

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