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Hara Hotel: A Tale of Syrian Refugees in Greece

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A first-hand account of a Greek refugee camp—and the stories of the refugees staying there Syrian Kurd Juwan Azad left his home and family in Damascus in 2011 to flee military service under the al-Assad regime. After several troubled years as a refugee in Turkey, he arrived in Greece by sea, on the route taken by hundreds of thousands of his fellow Syrians seeking a safe ha A first-hand account of a Greek refugee camp—and the stories of the refugees staying there Syrian Kurd Juwan Azad left his home and family in Damascus in 2011 to flee military service under the al-Assad regime. After several troubled years as a refugee in Turkey, he arrived in Greece by sea, on the route taken by hundreds of thousands of his fellow Syrians seeking a safe haven in Europe. But as borders closed across the Balkans in early 2016, Juwan and his fellow Syrians found themselves blocked from travelling any further. Teresa Thornhill volunteered at Hara Hotel, a makeshift camp on the Greece–Macedonia border. An Arabic speaker, she met Syrians from all walks of life as she distributed clothing and organized activities for children. One of the Syrians was Juwan, who would later walk through the mountains of Macedonia to safety in Austria. In Hara Hotel, Thornhill interweaves a narrative of daily life at the camp with Juwan’s extraordinary story, the recent history of the revolution in Syria, and an account of the ensuing civil war, painting a vivid picture of the predicament of Syrians trapped on Europe’s borders.


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A first-hand account of a Greek refugee camp—and the stories of the refugees staying there Syrian Kurd Juwan Azad left his home and family in Damascus in 2011 to flee military service under the al-Assad regime. After several troubled years as a refugee in Turkey, he arrived in Greece by sea, on the route taken by hundreds of thousands of his fellow Syrians seeking a safe ha A first-hand account of a Greek refugee camp—and the stories of the refugees staying there Syrian Kurd Juwan Azad left his home and family in Damascus in 2011 to flee military service under the al-Assad regime. After several troubled years as a refugee in Turkey, he arrived in Greece by sea, on the route taken by hundreds of thousands of his fellow Syrians seeking a safe haven in Europe. But as borders closed across the Balkans in early 2016, Juwan and his fellow Syrians found themselves blocked from travelling any further. Teresa Thornhill volunteered at Hara Hotel, a makeshift camp on the Greece–Macedonia border. An Arabic speaker, she met Syrians from all walks of life as she distributed clothing and organized activities for children. One of the Syrians was Juwan, who would later walk through the mountains of Macedonia to safety in Austria. In Hara Hotel, Thornhill interweaves a narrative of daily life at the camp with Juwan’s extraordinary story, the recent history of the revolution in Syria, and an account of the ensuing civil war, painting a vivid picture of the predicament of Syrians trapped on Europe’s borders.

30 review for Hara Hotel: A Tale of Syrian Refugees in Greece

  1. 5 out of 5

    Claire Wickett

    Really good read. Eye opener. The realities of refugee camps are harsh but there are some amazingly resilient people out there and some even more amazing volunteers.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Juliette

    Really loved the different directions of the book, from personal experience and highlighting conversations between refugees and volunteers, to the history of the Assad regime and the Arab Spring. Refugees stories are really powerful, hopefully they help Westerners to grasp the complex process of migration, how it’s ever changing and how hard finding refuge outside of ones home country it is. Also interesting to learn the shabby way and sometimes inconsistent way Greek camps are run/provided with Really loved the different directions of the book, from personal experience and highlighting conversations between refugees and volunteers, to the history of the Assad regime and the Arab Spring. Refugees stories are really powerful, hopefully they help Westerners to grasp the complex process of migration, how it’s ever changing and how hard finding refuge outside of ones home country it is. Also interesting to learn the shabby way and sometimes inconsistent way Greek camps are run/provided with ressources.

  3. 5 out of 5

    جلجامش Nabeel

    أتممتُ اليوم قراءة رواية "هارا أوتيل: حكاية اللاجئين السوريين في اليونان" بقلم تيريزا ثورنهيل. يتناول الكتاب بأسلوب روائي قصص حقيقية للاجئين سوريين وآخرين من العراق وإيران وأفغانستان – وقصص هروبهم من بلادهم وأوضاعهم في تلك البلاد وفي المخيمات التي أقيمت على الحدود اليونانية-المقدونية. يضم الكتاب تفاصيل سياسية واقتصادية مهمة عن العلاقات الإقليمية – تركيا وإيران – وروسيا والولايات المتحدة والصراعات بخصوص أزمة اللاجئين بين اليونان والاتحاد الأوروبي، والأوضاع الاقتصادية السيئة في اليونان والمشاكل ال أتممتُ اليوم قراءة رواية "هارا أوتيل: حكاية اللاجئين السوريين في اليونان" بقلم تيريزا ثورنهيل. يتناول الكتاب بأسلوب روائي قصص حقيقية للاجئين سوريين وآخرين من العراق وإيران وأفغانستان – وقصص هروبهم من بلادهم وأوضاعهم في تلك البلاد وفي المخيمات التي أقيمت على الحدود اليونانية-المقدونية. يضم الكتاب تفاصيل سياسية واقتصادية مهمة عن العلاقات الإقليمية – تركيا وإيران – وروسيا والولايات المتحدة والصراعات بخصوص أزمة اللاجئين بين اليونان والاتحاد الأوروبي، والأوضاع الاقتصادية السيئة في اليونان والمشاكل الثقافية بين اليونان ومقدونيا، فضلاً عن تركيز كبير على أوضاع الأكراد السوريين، ربما يعود ذلك لتعاطف الكاتبة البريطانية معهم لإقامتها في إقليم كردستان العراق في التسعينيات. تجيد الكاتبة اللغة العربية وكان ذلك داعمًا لها للتفاهم مع اللاجئين. تعلمت الكاتبة، وهي محامية، اللغة العربية في الأراضي الفلسطينية ولها كتب عن المخيمات هناك وكتاب عن كردستان العراق وآخر عن لبنان. شوقتني قراءة هذا الكتاب للبحث عن كتبها الأخرى بلا شك. تتناول الكاتبة أيضًا تفاصيل سياسية بصورة موضوعية توضح الأوضاع في سوريا قبل وبعد 2011 ونبذة تاريخية عن أسرة الأسد والعلاقات بين سوريا من جهة وإيران وروسيا وتركيا وقطر والسعودية والأردن وغيرها، وكيف قوّض الوضع في العراق بعد 2003 استقرار عموم الشرق الأوسط. هناك تفاصيل عن بوتين وأوباما ومواقفهم من سوريا – ومشاريع دعم المعارضة وفشلها بسبب هيمنة القوى المتطرفة على المشهد - وتحليل قيّم عن أسباب تصاعد الأسلمة والخطاب المتطرف في صفوف الثورة السورية وتعزيه لشعورهم بالخذلان فضلاً عن الخطاب الطائفي المستخدم من قبل كل الأطراف وإطلاق سراح المعتقلين المتطرفين ودعم الخليج وتركيا لجماعات مسلحة بدون الاهتمام بتأثيرها على مستقبل الوضع في سوريا. للكاتبة فهم عميق لأوضاع المنطقة رغم إصرارها بموضوعية على نفي صفة الخبرة السياسية والتاريخية عن ذاتها وعملها. هناك قصص مهمة عن عبور غابات مقدونيا برّا وقصص كثيرة عن الواقع في المخيمات وما يتعرض له الأطفال والنساء من إهمال وتحرش وترحيل. تتطرق الكاتبة لموضوع التعليم بشكل كبير وتذكر قصة ريما، الشابة السورية التي كانت تعلم الطلاب في المخيمات. تتطرق الكاتبة أيضًا لتغير حياة الكثير من اللاجئين في محاولة لأنسنة القضية وجعل القاريء يشعر بأن هؤلاء كانوا يمتلكون حياة طبيعية قبل الحرب. يركز الكتاب أيضًا على قصة الشاب جوان آزاد ورحلته من سوريا فتركيا وترحيله إلى سوريا مجددا – وحياته مع منظمة أطباء بلا حدود – وعودته إلى تركيا واليونان ومقدونيا وصولاً إلى النمسا. الكتاب شيق للغاية ويجمع ما بين الرواية والسيرة الذاتية وكيف جذبت مشاهد تلفازية اهتمام ثورنهيل بموضوع اللاجئين السوريين لدرجة أنها تركت عملها وأسرتها في بريطانيا لتعمل متطوعة في مخيم قرب فندق هارا. تلتقي الكاتبة بعد ذلك بجوان في فيينا لنتعرف على باقي قصته وتعود في القسم الثالث إلى اليونان – في كانون الأول/ يناير 2017 - لتطلع على أوضاع العالقين هناك وصعوبات لم الشمل وغيرها. الكتاب شيق وفيه تفاصيل هروب عائلات من الموصل والرقة ومن التنظيمات المتطرفة. راق لي الكتاب جدًا. تهدي الكاتبة كتابها لكل السوريين الشجعان الذين قابلتهم ولوالدتها التي علمتها التعاطف. #GilgameshNabeel #كلكامش_نبيل

  4. 5 out of 5

    Simon Slidders

    I am really glad to have read this book. It was written really simply with no sense of journalese, but very skillfully intertwined the experience of being a volunteer at a refugee camp (albeit with the exceptional advantage of speaking Arabic), with the experiences of the refugees themselves . The author did not overload it with statistics but gave a very clear history of the Syrian conflict (of which only a glossary of acronyms was lacking) . Her restraint, and admissions of her own fallibilit I am really glad to have read this book. It was written really simply with no sense of journalese, but very skillfully intertwined the experience of being a volunteer at a refugee camp (albeit with the exceptional advantage of speaking Arabic), with the experiences of the refugees themselves . The author did not overload it with statistics but gave a very clear history of the Syrian conflict (of which only a glossary of acronyms was lacking) . Her restraint, and admissions of her own fallibility in recording what was happening made it all the more powerful. Of course, now I want to know what happened,and is happening, next

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sam Hinmers

    This was a really well written book, the way information was compartmentalised and how it followed an anecdotal line meant that it was really a pleasure to read. Although it may be slightly loaded or bias, it is clear the failures of the west.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Russell Berg

    Excellent look at the Syrian refugee crisis that takes both a macro look at the conflict and a personal look at the life that refugees are forced to live.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert Sherman

    I learned a lot about the (semi-outdated/2017) current political climate in the middle east. Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of it and sometimes its just jammed in the middle of interesting recounted events of Teresa's time in the camp. My favorite part of the book was probably Juwan's story through Macedonia....which is pretty powerful becsuse it almost reads like fiction. I learned a lot about the (semi-outdated/2017) current political climate in the middle east. Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of it and sometimes its just jammed in the middle of interesting recounted events of Teresa's time in the camp. My favorite part of the book was probably Juwan's story through Macedonia....which is pretty powerful becsuse it almost reads like fiction.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dina Rodrigues

  9. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nachikethas MJ

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Alexandria

  12. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

  13. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  14. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Crozier

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nilay

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrei Buiza

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emily Kirchoff

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shepherd

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jason Fasano

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne Lapierre

  22. 4 out of 5

    Conor

  23. 4 out of 5

    L

  24. 4 out of 5

    Florine Proud

  25. 4 out of 5

    Abby Nalder

  26. 4 out of 5

    Muhammad Ahmad

  27. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Kohler

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kellen Gold

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jack Covey

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