From Aleppo to Berlin: Writing in Exile

Widad Nabi and Nihad Sirees: two Syrian writers who have found their way from a war-torn country to the cafés and bookshops of Berlin. In our interview they talk about writing in Syria and writing in exile.

Nihad Sirees and Widad Nabi in Berlin. © Christian Jungeblodt / Amnesty International

Widad Nabi, how did your work as an author change in exile?

Widad Nabi: Writing is the same in every place. Lately in Syria, I had been writing about the same topics that I write about here: war, death, the daily destruction. Here, I started writing about my escape from Syria, about longing for home, longing for all the places that we left behind. Continue reading


Home, sweet Home

Moving out of a room is hard but leaving behind a whole house is harder. As my mother and I are preparing to move out and the rest of the family already has in the past years, I watch my room become less and less of a room and more and more of just an empty space. It looks like I will be the last one to leave the sinking ship at the end of next week. I am scared of the moment where I will leave the house for the last time and know that I will never come home to it again. Who knows, I might visit the new owners one day but after twelve years of living here it will never be my home again. I feel like every single fibre of this house belongs to me or is even an extended part of me. I can’t imagine anybody else living in here, using it in a different way, developing their own memories in it when it is already soaked with mine.

It is unbelievable how much stuff one piles up in four floors or even just a few squaremetres over the years. That makes it really difficult to empty a whole house at once. Sometimes I wish I had a huge trash can to throw everything into. All that stuff that you will never need again but because you needed it once, you just can’t get rid of it. Well, I guess the more things you take with you, the faster your new living space will feel like a home, too. Continue reading