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As Long As the Lemon Trees Grow

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How much can Salama endure? She promised her brother that she would care for his wife, Layla. However the constant shelling and Layla’s advanced pregnancy mean she cannot leave the home the two share. Then again, Salama has taken on the role of surgeon at Homs hospital, despite only have a year of pharmacy training. The loss of her family, the daily struggle of her work and her worries about Layla are overwhelming her. Then she encounters Kenan, the young man whose family had arranged with hers for a marriage meeting, before the revolution. Now Salama volunteers at a hospital in Homs, helping the wounded who flood through the doors. She knows that she should be thinking about leaving, but who will help the people of her beloved country if she doesn't? With her heart so conflicted, her mind has conjured a vision to spur her to action. His name is Khawf, and he haunts her nights with hallucinations of everything she has lost.

love how she taught salama that there is more to life than fear. that hope and faith is enough to have happiness and love. love how she always reminded her that her life is also important and that she doesn't have to stop living and loving. Set in war-torn Syria, As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow follows Salama’s inner battle between the desire to escape and the guilt of leaving her country behind. This heartbreaking novel explores the human beings affected by the war: their fear, love and hunger to change the world. Yeah, money we need to survive when we get there. We don’t know how much he’ll ask for, and besides, the stories . . .” In the last six months, I have participated in more surgeries than I can count and closed more eyes than I ever thought I would.

Lemons are an homage to one of Nizar Qabbani’s verses in a poem, which was about Syria,” Katouh explained. At the same time, the author tries to destroy the stereotypes that seem to constantly be associated with the Muslim culture: her heroines are free and brave and unafraid to express themselves and dream big while also, yes, they wear hijabs. Because guess what? Wearing a hijab doesn't stop them from being free to express themselves. A year ago, before the revolution, Salama watched her brother marry her best friend, Layla, and wondered when her own love story might begin. Now she works at the hospital – helping those she can, closing the eyes of those she can't. Layla and her unborn baby are all Salama has left. We held our heads high and planted lemon trees in acts of defiance, praying that when they came for us, it'd be a bullet to the head.'

Dengan mengelaborasi perjuangan para karakternya inilah, Katouh mampu memperlihatkan pada pembaca tentang Suriah yang tak pernah kita pahami atau lihat lewat kacamata dunia. Narasi yang begitu humanis dengan penekanan pada perlawanan juga harapan di tengah kengerian konflik bersenjata.Zoulfa Katouh is a fantastic author, and I was a bit surprised to read that this was her debut novel. I was amazed at her ability to show and not just tell the characters’ personalities. I feel like so many fiction authors will say things like, “Sally was such a good friend and a strong person, and she was so quirky and cool,” instead of…showing Sally doing those things.

Salama ahh salama she was so strong and loyal to her family and to her patients and to her country. It was so hard being in her mind sometimes. The guilt and the fear and sadness was to much. She wasn't perfect she made mistakes horrible ones but she's only human and the fear and desperate need to survive will make u do anything. I understand and I love her with my whole heart <33 I love these characters. They’ve all touched me in so many ways. Each one of them will give you something to walk away with. Salama taught me how to live with my fear, Kenan taught me how to fight for what I believe in, and Layla, my precious Layla taught me how to see the light and beauty in this world even when it seems so bleak.

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Dengan detail gerakan sipil masyarakat Suriah ini Katouh ingin pembacanya tidak mereduksi situasi Suriah hanya sebagai situasi perang di mana masyarakat Suriah digambarkan sebagai korban yang tidak berdaya dan tak punya tujuan. Sebaliknya, Katouh ingin memberikan pemahaman konflik Suriah pada pembacanya lewat lensa masyarakat Suriah sendiri. Lensa yang memperlihatkan bagaimana konflik ini memiliki akar kuat pada perjuangan masyarakat Suriah yang ingin merebut kembali kebebasan, rumah rumah mereka yang direnggut paksa. Whatever happens tomorrow, we’ll be okay. Even if…” He takes in a deep breath and presses his forehead against mine. “Know that even in death, you’re my life.” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) bahkan sampai menobatkan Suriah sebagai negara dengan krisis pengungsi terbesar di dunia. Sejak tahun 2011, lebih dari 14 juta warga Suriah terpaksa meninggalkan rumah mereka untuk mencari tempat yang lebih aman. Lebih dari 6,8 juta warga Suriah masih menjadi pengungsi internal di negara mereka sendiri, di mana 70 persen penduduknya membutuhkan bantuan kemanusiaan dan 90 persen penduduknya hidup di bawah garis kemiskinan. Katouh wrote the novel with young teenagers and their perceptions of the war in mind. For her, writing a story with characters that readers could relate to in some way was important. Untuk menyeimbangkan narasi nasionalisme masyarakat Suriah atas negerinya, Koutuh juga tak lupa untuk memberikan penghargaan bagi para pengungsi Suriah. Ia paham bagaimana perlawanan terhadap rezim Assad tak hanya hadir lewat satu cara perlawanan saja, tetap tinggal di Suriah. Perlawanan juga hadir lewat cara bertahan hidup dengan mencari suaka di negara lain.

Definitely need to reread when it comes out because apparently there are little things I missed (you wouldn't believe it, her mind !!) You’re wearing this!” she had announced after pulling me to my room, rolling out her azure- blue kaftan. It was a rich fabric that glided smoothly over my arms. The hemline was stitched in gold, as was the belt at the waist, where it flowed from the sides like a waterfall. The color reminded me of the sea made from rain in Spirited Away. Magical, that is. Lemon trees is everything. It’s grief and anguish, but it’s also hope and love. It’s a story about survival, about stealing these moments of joy when the world threatens to bury you. As an Arab, I was already aware of the crisis in Syria. This book still shook me to my core, to be reading about the horrors that the Syrian people have experienced. To read this book with no prior knowledge? This is exactly the kind of book that shatters our bubbles of safety and comfort when there are others suffering in the world. salama, i love you so much it physically hurts. i look at you and i can't believe you're with me. that you're mine." Seperti yang sudah Koutuh coba elaborasi sebelumnya mengenai sindrom kehancuran manusia, ia menyadari bahwa tidak semua orang bisa bertahan waras dengan situasi konflik berkepanjangan di Suriah. Nyawa dan kesehatan mental menjadi taruhannya. Karena itu, bagi mereka yang memutuskan untuk mencari suaka, keluar dari Suriah untuk menyelamatkan nyawa diri sendiri dan orang terdekat tidak digambarkan Koutuh sebagai sebuah tindakan pengecut.

As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow is a beautiful and aesthetic book starting from the melodicity of the title to the visual impact of that stunning cover to the love stories happening inside the book. Yes, stories. Plural. Because there isn't only a boy and a girl falling in love. But I will get to that later. The main character Salma which deserves the whole world and more, Kenan and his siblings, the powerful message this story carries, the astronomical amount of tears I shed while reading it. Seriously, I cried at almost every chapter, but it was so worth it at the end. A very satisfying end. I don't care about whatever uncertainties lie in our future. All I know is that I love him and that even in the darkness surrounding us, he's been my joy. In the midst of all the death, he made me want to live. Tak mengherankan jika kemudian Salama pun acap kali mengalami berbagai masalah mental. Ia mulai berhalusinasi, kesulitan tidur, hingga bisa tiba-tiba terdiam dengan tatapan kosong. Khawf (dalam bahasa Arab berarti rasa takut) pun hadir dalam manifestasinya terhadap trauma besar yang ia alami. Trauma yang melebihi PTSD dan kini punya istilah sendiri, Human Devastation Syndrome atau Sindrom Kehancuran Manusia.

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