Hell’s Mouth is a love story between two individuals, but above all, it is a tale of compassion for humanity. Saber Azam initiates a brilliant idea to create a humanitarian hero and recount his journeys around the world to help those affected by conflicts and wars.
This book depicts violence against the Liberian people and systematic violation of human rights, particularly “the rights of the child” and “women’s rights,” during the first civil war in this country and the determination of humanitarians to help, heal and rebuild the broken spirits of victims.
It is a touching story that takes readers to the heart of what they did not know about the devastations caused by the warlords and the subsequent mobilization of the Ivorian population to greet the sufferers, their brothers, and sisters.
Saber Azam is a compelling writer and a person who loves telling stories about a country’s disposition and how it can evolve through the pages of its history.
He exposes the Liberian people’s hardships and how humanitarian actors, under the leadership of a determined, devoted, and honest man, assisted by his lifetime love, serve the wounded bodies and minds.
We noticed with his first book, Soraya: The Other Princess, that Saber Azam writes with integrity, zeal, and passion. His language is forthright and truthful. Even though fictional, what he writes is inspired by actual and recorded events in history.
Hell’s Mouth is indeed fascinating, even more so, when we know Azam better as a writer and a person.
What are your sources of inspiration? Tell us about Abraham and Selina. How did the idea of inventing such characters come to your mind?
I recall having mentioned in an earlier interview with your magazine that I was fortunate for having an extraordinarily vibrant and enriching professional life. I served in numerous conflict-affected areas of the world in Europe, Africa, and Asia. My greatest attribute was to visit daily victims of human atrocities, learn about their ordeals, know about their life stories, listen to their ideas, and share their pains. I have carefully noted what I observed, heard, and witnessed in each duty station. In 2017, I decided to share my experience and knowledge of a given situation and/or country with others by writing historical fiction. Therefore, my sources of inspiration are my own experiences, people I have encountered, locations that I have visited, customs that I have beheld, and realities that I have perceived.
My philosophy in life is to always “close a circle.” It means that I finish every project that I initiate. Therefore, conceiving, developing, and realizing are my bread and butter in life. Of course, action is an integral part of it. I believe the noblest of all meaningful activities are humanitarian endeavors.
I always enjoyed watching James Bond movies but was disturbed by his lack of ethics in most circumstances. Western countries have championed elaboration of international standards on human dignity and rights, principles that the famous agent 007 often ignores to achieve his institution’s goals. Therefore, I decided to create a character that is ethic-bound and noble. He does not jump from one bed to another and serves humanity rather than a government, an institution, or a personality. I called him Abraham, as the patriarch of monotheistic faiths. His love of life, Selina, accompanies him in his missions. She is his indispensable support and source of inspiration and stability. With Selina on his side, Abraham knows that he can “close the circles.”
They have entirely different backgrounds. He originates from one of the most conflict-affected lands on earth. She is a citizen of the most peaceful country in Europe. What brings them together initially is their shared vision about humanity. Sincerity, honesty, and devotion to serving others are their leitmotif that slowly transforms into a deep love and respect for each other. She is his consoler and energizer.
More broadly speaking, humanitarian actions have significant political, diplomatic, and security dimensions. Humanitarian actors, too, deal with state affairs like Mr. Bond, take in some circumstances, life-threatening risks, face the villains, and endeavor for the goods to triumph over the evils. Therefore, Abraham is a more complete and interesting character than the hero of Mr. Fleming. His singularity is not only his principled and daring approach to human tragedies but also about the fact that he does not benefit from the special protection of any government!
I have known some peacekeepers and humanitarian colleagues, and friends who lost their lives in the line of duty. Their memories will always remain alive in my mind. Undoubtedly, they are the heroes of humanity. I hope my books will render them the homage they deserve.
What do you think will make Liberia a better country?
It is a challenging question to answer. Liberia became a republic in 1847. Therefore, it is one of the first countries on earth to elect its leaders. The problem consisted of discrimination of natives by those who had come from the United States when slavery was abolished. Though both had the same skin color, the newcomers took the political, economic, and financial powers in hand, certainly with less regard towards the interest of those who owned the place. It ended in a bloody takeover by one group of the indigenous populations in 1980 that prompted the first Liberian civil war, followed immediately by the country’s second civil war that finally ended in 2003. Since then, there is a democratic system in place that functions relatively well. For Liberia or any other developing country composed of diverse ethnic groups, to become a better place, it is crucial to keep the nationhood efforts alive at all times and have good governance, a fair justice system, and equal opportunities for all. Those who are in power must feel the pain of ordinary people and honestly serve them. Governing is not only a privilege but bears responsibilities too. People in charge of a country must feel effectively accountable and devote their time and energy to use the resources to improve the conditions of the population, particularly women and children, educate a healthy future generation, and instill honesty and faithfulness to the ideals of democracy. Rule by the people and good governance should be a deep-rooted culture among the entire population, not a slogan or rhetoric by a few.
Several former Liberian warlords are still in power and did not face justice for the crimes they committed. But, this has been a result of the truth and reconciliation effort for the country. I hope they will not nurture the ambition of grabbing power to lead the country again.
Related to this question, have you personally been in places at war? If so, tell us about that experience?
You may know that I am of Afghan origin and was involved in the struggle for Afghanistan’s liberation from the Soviet and communist claws. For four decades, this country has faced conflicts and calamities of all kinds. Initially, a communist coup caused misery to the people. Then, Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union at the end of December 1979 with dramatic human and material losses. This intervention led to the collapse and dismantlement of the communist giant. The era of “freedom fighters” or Mujahidin centered on inter-factional fighting, and the Taliban regime practiced state terrorism on inhabitants. They continue mass murdering the population even today. Finally, the western imposed post-Taliban governments – composed of corrupt, inefficient, and short-sighted individuals – destroyed the hopes for democracy and the rule of law. The recent development related to the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan worries me greatly.
The issue is not about the departure of foreign soldiers from this country. After twenty years of commitment and sacrifices, they should regain their homes and families. The problem is that for all these years, the International Community was not capable of leaving a functional system in place whereby good governance, meritocracy, fair and equal treatment of all ethnic groups, and trust in democratic institutions would prevail. I fear for more bloodshed and violence and still follow deeply events related to Afghanistan. Though my book, Soraya: The Other Princess, overflies the latest seven decades of Afghan history, I publish political articles on the root causes of the conflicts and how to achieve peace and undertake advocacy efforts as much as I can in defense of the population. Therefore, my commitment to support victims of crises goes back to the beginning of 1980!
You may also be aware that I worked for nearly twenty-four years with the United Nations in conflict-affected areas of the world. Every tragedy has its darkest pages, not only in history but also in modern times. I have witnessed the consequences of unacceptable actions against innocent civilians wherever I served to lead humanitarian operations.
The atrocities committed by the Liberian warlords were unforgivable. I was horrified to visit victims of body mutilation practiced by the rebel groups. Discussing with drug-addicted child soldiers traumatized me forever. Consoling victims of sexual assaults was not easy, and their rehabilitation seemed extraordinarily demanding for my colleagues who reached them daily. The inability of humanitarian workers to deal with chronic diseases because of lack of funding was heart-breaking. Basically, you see people dying in front of you who otherwise and without war could be saved. My book, Hell’s Mouth, contains some aspects of the crimes committed by the warring factions.
While in Kenya, I observed that systematic discrimination against South Sudanese and the practice of modern slavery through guns and brutality were horrible misdeeds perpetrated by the people in power in north Sudan. The cries of Christians and animists remained for too long unanswered. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands perished of hunger, thirst, gunshots, and other inhuman treatments. Like all human beings on earth, South Sudanese are noble and decent people whose right to autonomy and self-determination was denied. Similarly, Somalia and Ethiopia were victims of communist viciousness that killed countless individuals and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere. My third book will be devoted to the consequences of human insanity in South Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia in particular. While Somalia remains ungovernable and Ethiopia seems on the right path, free South Sudan is a tremendous disappointment for those who helped them gain independence. Like Afghanistan, this country is ruined by corrupt and inefficient leaders who encourage the ethnic divide to remain in a power-sharing government.
I saw the results of flagrant discrimination, brutality, ethnic cleansing, and killing machinery by the Milosevic regime in southeast Europe – Kosovo, Macedonia, and South Serbia in particular. The Balkans remained a war zone for a long. The Muslim population of Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo-Albanians were harshly suppressed, prompting the international community’s military intervention to end the Belgrade big-wigs’ madness. It was rewarding to see the criminals of all sides tried by an international tribunal. I am eager to finish the third book and focus on writing about my experiences in this unforgettable part of the world.
When I went back to Ivory Coast some ten years after my first mission, the country was divided into two. Nearly eight hundred thousand people were forcibly displaced within or outside the country because of a terrible internal conflict, losing their loved ones, homes, belongings, and other assets. I was heartbroken. Ivory Coast was once a symbol of peace, stability, and prosperity in West Africa. But the conflict had damaged the harmony in the country. I was the first head of a humanitarian mission to travel by road, departing the south, held by the government, crossing the confidence zone, controlled by international peacekeepers, and reaching the north, ruled by rebel forces. It was quite an experience that could have devastating consequences for the lives of people who accompanied me and my own.
Myanmar has become the subject of much attention recently due to a shameful military coup against democracy. Among the populations of this country, I witnessed the deplorable plight and agony of the Rohingya people who had sought protection in Bangladesh because of their own governments’ brutality. They are the country’s Muslim population, deprived of their nationality, many of whom had no choice but to seek refuge elsewhere, jumping to merciless sea waters. For decades, Rohingyas faced discrimination, destitution, and violation of their fundamental rights. They helplessly saw their houses burnt and their young women and girls sexually assaulted. They have been subject to unacceptable inhuman treatments. I could not understand why the International Community remained practically inert when it was time to react. Today, this country faces disintegration with uncalculated consequences.
Central Asia, one of the most beautiful and remarkable areas on earth, faced two-fold challenges, i.e., ethnic divide and threat to the region’s stability by violent and proscribed organizations. I witnessed the devastation of Kyrgyz-Uzbek clashes in the Osh and Jalalabad regions of Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, efforts by several malicious entities to destabilize governments were noticeable and destructive. Central Asian countries gained independence only in December 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. After decades of communist dictatorship, they make good progress, but democratic institutions are still fragile. The region needs peace and stability.
In Rwanda, the pearl of the African continent, I encountered victims of several tragedies. Above all, Rwanda itself faced a horrible ethnic genocide in 1994, during which about a million people were slaughtered in just one hundred days. Though the country has recovered remarkably well, the tragedy’s scars are still fresh in people’s minds. Many of my national staff had their family members brutally killed. Most had no choice but to flee to the forests for weeks or what they called “safer areas,” eat whatever nature provided to survive, and hope for an additional hour or day to live. I admire the resilience of the Rwandan people. The neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been in crisis for over twenty years. East DRC is particularly violent as the remaining genocidal armed forces of Rwanda fled there, continuing their inhuman actions. They have not yet been wholly disarmed and dismantled. As a result, dozens of thousands of Congolese have sought protection in Rwanda. Burundi, another neighbor of Rwanda, is also devastated by repeated conflicts and internal wars. In 2015, the conflict erupted again, forcing dozens of thousands of women, children, and the elderly to flee to Rwanda.
The situations mentioned above are a few examples of tragedies that I witnessed. However, there are thousands of clashes, crises, conflicts, and wars currently happening in the world, taking scores of lives, destroying beautiful cities and cultural heritages, shattering families, and consuming billions of US dollars that otherwise would have served the purposes of peace and development.
Why are there so many crises in the world and what are the reasons?
Again, it is a complicated question to answer, and frankly speaking, there is no one reason. What I can say is that each crisis, conflict, or war has deep-rooted causes. Consider a volcano. It boils within the magma chamber for an extended period, and before an eruption, it passes several layers of obstacles in the mountain. The result is either simple gases and ashes, or manageable quantities of lava eruption, or a terrible projection of all that destroys lives, cities, and cultures. Tambora and Krakatoa in Indonesia, Laki in Iceland, Pelee in the Caribbean, Ilopango in El Salvador, Unzen in Japan, Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, etc., were all devastating explosions with ferocious pyroclastic flows. However, the most renowned of them is the eruption of Vesuvius in Italy that destroyed the entire city of Pompeo and killed all its inhabitants. The buoyancy, pressure from the exsolved gases, and injection of a new batch, the main reasons for a volcano’s eruption, are similar to external and internal factors leading to a significant crisis.
Unless we address correctly and in an open-minded manner the reasons for a dispute, it can get “infected,” deteriorate, and cause uncalculated damages. Partial solutions often prolong the lifespan of a crisis. The fundamental discord among human beings is created by the desire of some to be the richest, the most powerful, and the highly respected. My theory is simple, and I develop it in the introduction of my forthcoming third book. At the beginning of human life on earth, homo sapiens committed an offense for survival, targeting essentially other animals. Unfortunately, the greed for gain and fame, two very harmful “transformative genes,” pushed human beings to exploit each other, using force and wile. We do not have much information about our ancient history, but slavery, colonialism, new colonialism, and offense to the environment have tinted our recent five thousand years on earth, specifically since the Akkadian Empire! I believe these four facts have given birth to many disputes and will continue to be the source of discord.
Therefore, to explain the root causes of conflicts, some have to study history and see the emotional, spiritual, material, territorial, or other unresolved issues among two or many conflicting parties. Any unresolved matter will resurface at a specific time in history. We better “close the circles” definitely to avoid future disputes. This is why I am advocating that our generation needs to discuss in an open-minded manner the consequences of our actions in history, acknowledge misdeeds committed, take strong measures to repair the damages, and forge a new and safer highway for the future of humanity. For me, our past has a significant influence on our present time, and our current behavior will forge our future. This is why I decided to write about my experience to benefit the existing and forthcoming generations.
What made you decide to write about the political, cultural, and educational history of the war in Liberia?
From 1994 to 1997, corresponding to the First Liberian Civil War, I led the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) operations in the southwest Ivory Coast along the Liberian border. Our job was to rescue victims of this insane tragedy. I encountered, discussed, and shared thoughts with thousands of innocent women, children, and elderly whom the warlords brutally treated. Hell’s Mouth content is based on what happened in reality. It was my first mission to Africa, after years of commitment to my country of origin, Afghanistan, and a profound disappointment about the outcome of our efforts as the victors of the Cold War did not listen to us to avoid further tragedies in that country.
In fulfilling my duty in Ivory Coast, I observed how gracious, brilliant, and resilient Liberians were in general. Their decency, friendship, and beauty of spirit are remarkable. I met countless talented and highly educated Liberians who had lost everything back home and lived in absolute poverty as refugees. I am honored to be in touch with a number of them, even today. Some are still struggling to erase the demons of repeated civil wars from their minds. At the same time, the Ivorian population mobilized themselves to help the victims. It was an extraordinary outpouring of solidarity. When you live with and among such fantastic human beings, listen to their stories, understand their points of view, and learn about their backgrounds, it is the best university on earth. As a humanitarian and human rights advocate, you have no choice but to embrace them and their cause.
There must not be a place for politicking with victims of human viciousness. And I never did and even denounced with energy those who intended to do so. This first encounter with Africa in general and Liberia and Ivory Coast, more specifically, was a wonderful delight for me. And the experience gained was incomparable. Therefore, I wanted to render homage through this book to Liberians for their strength. I also wished to praise the Ivorian people for their spirit of solidarity and humanitarian actors for their extraordinary devotion to the cause of humanity.
What lesson/s do you want people to learn from this book?
First of all, I aim to sensitize my books’ readers to realize that conflict is not the solution for any individual, societal, national, or humanity’s concerns. Dialogue, compassion, understanding, and the desire to accept others equally are! I believe that war is the option of despair and the weapon of weak people. It is not surprising that most renowned military commanders denounce it. I quote some of them in this book. The consequences of each conflict of any dimension are apparent proof of human idiocies.
Second, I hope to explain the root causes of the First Liberian Civil War and the subsequent tragic destiny of innocent individuals who had no role in igniting it. If the country’s rulers had considered the boiling unhappiness of their indigenous population on time, Liberia would have had a different path in its recent history. I am confident that it would have been the leading country in Africa now.
Third, I would also like my readers to understand that what I call the “war trade or commerce” is flourishing. Unscrupulous people in the business engage in unlawful sales of weapons to all parties in a conflict, intensifying and prolonging civilian populations’ burden. Unfortunately, there is no convergence of view about this “pandemic” among arms-producing countries. While much attention is focused justifiably on limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons or production of heavy conventional war armaments, light machine guns take the lives of millions of innocent individuals each year. We must do something about it.
Fourth, I would like my friends and followers to comprehend the generosity of the population in Ivory Coast who, despite enormous challenges, received their Liberian brothers and sisters, shared their forests, houses, meals, and work tools with them.
Finally, it is of utmost importance that the public realizes humanitarian and human rights actors’ excellent work in a conflict zone. Even though they take enormous personal risks to save lives and bring much-needed help, they do not benefit from the required enhanced safety measures that governments, particularly the powerful ones, provide to their civil servants.
In recounting my characters’ missions, I draw the readers’ attention to the four essential matters that disturb humanity’s consciousness for too long. Western countries can play a significantly positive role in addressing them. Let us not forget that as of the fifteenth century, some European countries went to the Americas, Australia, Asia, Africa, and numerous islands to impose their vision by force at a hefty cost for the indigenous populations. They brought home what they considered precious. They contributed to uprooting people, excelled in the occupation of foreign lands, did not loosen their grips immediately on their former colonies following their independence, and initiated environmental degradation as of the industrial revolution. In my opinion, they have a moral obligation to take unflinching courageous steps in bridging the past with the present for a more harmonious and equitable future for all. This would be the greatest lesson learned about human greatness!
Do you plan to write other books with the same theme in the future? If so, tell us about them and what to expect in the future.
Yes, I do! I will write two or three more books about Afghanistan and already have the frameworks in mind. This will happen, hopefully in the future. Currently, I am busy with my third book, summarizing the next mission of my characters, Abraham and Selina. They will now move to northwest Kenya to deal with victims of atrocities in South Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia in particular. They will then move to Europe, the Balkans, more precisely, before coming back to Ivory Coast. Bangladesh and the Rohingya population’s plight, unforgettable Central Asia, and Rwanda are also in my plan. Thus, I have the outlines for several books in which Abraham and Selina will accomplish miracles for the well-being and safeguard of ordinary human beings.
Allow me to take advantage of this opportunity and highlight one issue that bothers me for a while, and I have to speak about it before parking it as part of my memory. A respected friend suggested that I be part of a humanitarian actors’ social media network. Following the publication of Hell’s Mouth, I posted with great enthusiasm about it and received some negative remarks instantly. I was shocked to understand that these commentators had judged my book because of its title. I asked one person if she had read it; the answer was no. She mentioned that Hell’s Mouth was giving a negative impression about Africa!
Before publishing this book, I sent the manuscript to two Ivorian friends for comments. They did not find any questionable issues and even made handy suggestions that I entirely took into account. As for the title of my book, I did much research before opting for it. Hell’s Mouth is associated with Porth Neigwl in Wales and Cornwall in the South West of England. These craggy headlands have cliffs descending to the Atlantic Ocean, presenting great danger to sailors in storm times. In my book’s particular case, the Cavalla River, the natural boundary between Liberia and Ivory Coast, descends to the Atlantic Ocean in a shark-infested zone, making it very difficult for local seafarers to fish or gather crustaceans, the famous products of the region.
Therefore, I was puzzled by the fact that some people reacted negatively before even opening the book. It reminded me of the famous French singer Enrico Macias’s song “you have to think before you act.” I hope people endeavor to read and understand a topic before issuing an opinion. This is particularly important in humanitarian endeavors; actors should not judge a person or decide about a solution because of appearance! Grasping the essence of issues or challenges leads to the best judgments and remedies!
If you are not writing, what keeps you busy? What type of work do you do?
Many activities keep me busy when I do not write. I play tennis and, if possible, watch some tournaments such as grand slams. I admire players who have extraordinary human qualities. Roger Federer is one of them, and his humanitarian commitment in Africa is laudable. I like sauntering in nature to observe other species. Before the Covid-19 lockdown, I used to go to the gym twice or three times a week. No one else cleans my apartment; I do it at least once a week. Though I am not a good cook, I enjoy being in the kitchen and help. The rest of the time, I read or liaise with family members and friends. Since my childhood, I have hated idleness. Therefore, there is always something that I do when I am not writing or sleeping.
What is your favorite book and why?
The world of literature is vibrant. All genres are fascinating. The problem is to find time and read all the exciting articles and books. I easily read literary, historical, and romance fiction, and realist literature. Every period of history produced remarkable authors. As I am lucky to read, write and understand four languages, I can sail from one continent to another and admire classic authors and those who opt for creative writing. There is nothing comparable to Persian literature. In my opinion, it is the finest of all, perhaps because I grasp all nuances of the language. The Pashto language is excellent, with a lot of epic writers. I love reading in French too, which is romantic and precise. Reading and writing in English is a pleasure for everybody, I believe. The language is practical, easy, and straightforward. Though not very familiar, I admire some Russian and Indian authors too. Their writings are profound, philosophical, and spiritual.
My favorite books in Persian are the Rubaiyat or Quartets of Omar Khayyam, the Diwan of Hafiz Shirazi, the Gulistan of Saadi Shirazi, the Kulliyat of Qader Bedil, the Munajat of Abdullah Ansari, the Collection of Jalaluddin Rumi, and many others. In Pashto, I love reading The Book of Rahman Baba and Poetry of Hamid Mashokhel. I have read all books written by Emile Zola, the master of what I call the “French liberal literature,” several of Gustave Flaubert, including Salammbô and Madame Bovary, and a few by Stendhal, such as The Red and the Black. There are many English and American authors that I love reading. My humble library is full of their works. The favorites are The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald, For Whom the Bell Tolls of Ernest Hemingway, The Wuthering Heights of Emily Brontë, and many others. I also believe that “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky is remarkable. I have a collection of books by Rabindranath Tagore. In addition to Gitanjali, I enjoyed reading Ghare Baire and Kabuliwala. Like Anton Chekhov, Tagore has written beautiful short stories. Now, I focused on African authors. Chinua Achebe, Aminata Forna, Mariama Bâ, and a few more distinguished writers are on my list.
These are just a few of many books I have read and like. As you see, I am a bit old-fashioned. The reason is that writers in previous centuries did not possess the facilities we are benefiting from currently. Technology has come to help literature. Computer science and the internet are the most significant assets of authors today. Therefore, I admire old-day writers who relied principally on their hand-writing and focused mind. Their vocabulary, grammar, writing styles, etc., were unique and pure. Moreover, those I mentioned above are among the leading precursors of modern literature!
You are above sixty years of age. How does it feel to be an author at such a mature age?
I get the sense of your question. Indeed, I began to write at a very late stage in my life and know my disadvantages. However, as I quote Maya Angelou in Hell’s Mouth, “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Let me also underscore that there is beauty, love, and creativity at every stage of life. All you need is determination and devotion to what you believe and do. For me, every individual, woman or man, is born with extraordinary abilities to contribute to society’s well-being and prosperity. Indeed, young authors have more time, therefore, much better chances of reaching their goals. However, what characterizes me is my experience and what I have accomplished effectively supporting needy people affected by wars. I am convinced that people like me, a scientist who turned to politics and diplomacy, embraced humanitarian endeavors in the most challenging places on earth, and finally became an author are rare.
I am confident that my works, political articles or books, or what I do will have enormous value for current and future generations; people will hopefully recognize their creative nature and the added values in transforming our societies for the better. It is a matter of time for my ideas to climb the difficult ladder of public awareness. I hope to have enough time to recount all missions undertaken by Abraham and Selina.
I feel great to have an opportunity at such a mature age, as you pointed out, to write about ideas and matters that are important to me. I am not writing for fame or gain but to raise awareness about issues that will frame our children’s future. Though I may have linguistic shortcomings, no one can contest the substance of what I include in my books or articles. Therefore, it is beautiful to wake up when you do not feel sleepy anymore, take your cup of black coffee with a spoon of honey, watch or read the news, focus on what you have to accomplish during the day, and prepare for the days to come.
In this book, Hell’s Mouth, what is the most significant part of the story for you, and share to us why you think it is the highlight of the story?
All parts are essential. I concur that the beginning may be a bit heavy. However, it is crucial to clarify the context to the readers; most of them may not be accustomed to the humanitarian environment, operational schemes, rules, and procedures.
As for the rest, I have tried my best to reflect people’s feelings, both the victims and rescuers, and explain events as they had occurred, based on my meticulous notes of the time. The most challenging part was to inject romance into this tremendously serious story. Since it is not a lengthy book, I believe every page describes a vital topic: cultural, political, human, operational, or otherwise.
As I alluded to earlier, I want to trigger a healthy discussion on what went wrong in our history and what we should do to pave the way for the coming generations to have better prospects. I defend causes, some of which are still considered “taboos,” and do not mince words for this purpose. Life is beautiful when you have a purpose and a vision. I want to be a small brick for the construction of a reliable, equitable, and fair future for all and hope my readers will find the contents of what I write interesting, helpful, and inspiring.
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