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Muhammad Najem: War Reporter

This #arc book had me sobbing and yet so grateful! Grateful that someone shone the spotlight on my beloved Syria and the truth was written for the world to see!

Genre: Middle Grade GRAPHIC NOVEL

Age: 9-12 and up

Author: @muhammadnajem20 and @noraneus

Illustrations/Art by @heyhijulie

Published: @littlebrownyoungreaders

Muhammad tells his story of growing up in Eastern Ghouta and how his life was full of joy- until one day the Assad forces came. They bombed his home, took away his loved ones, and bombarded the city until everyone in it was starving and under seige. Muhammad’s father always told him everyone has a story- and so he sets out to show it. He used his phone and social media to record what was happening and started posting online.

But it didn’t come without consequences, and his home and city were attacked even more. Muhammad and his family barely made it to Rebel-controlled Idlib, and from there, into Turkey, where Muhammad continues his reporting and posting to show the world the crimes of the Assad regime.

For such a heavy topic, this graphic novel does an AMAZING job of making the content appropriate for this age group. The emotion that came from the story, the words, and the art can only be describes as authentic and I found myself crying as I read Muhammad’s story and broken hearted that my birth country was and is still being broken by a cruel dictatorship that gives no thought to its harm.

I really appreciated the honesty of the story. This is not a book in which the Syrian conflict is minimized or reduced to a civil war- the story of living under an oppressive dictatorship that is propped up by Russia and Iran, a dictatorship that is committing genocide against the sunni-majority population, a war against humanity with no mercy or care at the destruction it causes.

This story does end with hope, hope that continued coverage of Syria and the struggles Syrian face might somehow someday change the situation.

The fear of Muhammad is so real- the fear of speaking against a regime that will wipe out our whole families simply for speaking the truth. I feel it as well.

Words themselves are resistance and I pray for a free Syria🤲

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