Who are Syrians today? Who are those men and women who remained in Syria, were exiled around Europe, or are waiting to leave their country? The fact is that you probably don’t even know them.
L’esilio siriano (“The Syrian Exile,” published by Guerini and Associates, 190 pages, €18.50), the new book edited by Marina Calculli and Shadi Amadi, begins with an analysis of the condition of “exile” and traces the Syrian affair in light of the cultural and political transformations not only of Syria after the war, but also of Europe, where so many Syrians ended up.
Among the pages of the book you soon arrive at the heart of the matter: Beyond what you might think about the Syrian Civil War, the U.S. invasion of Iraq is the point from which to understand the influence of the Baathists on Syria — as well as Assad’s policies, the jihadist evolution and finally the rise of populism and neo-extremist nationalism in Europe. The events and circumstances created over the last six years in the Middle East and Europe have a common point of origin.
In the first chapter of the book, “Semantics of exile: Introductory notes,” Marina Calculli traces these contours, starting from the semantic confusion used with great astuteness by so-called “neo-sovereignists.” Summarizing, the term “migrant” denotes “an individual who voluntarily moves permanently or for a sufficiently long time from place to place,” while the word “refugee” denotes “those who run away from a situation of conflict, persecution or, potentially, a natural disaster.”