What Writing Is For

When you read an account like this about what’s going on in ISIS-ruled parts of Syria, everything else drops away.  All of our selfish, inward groanings about whatever we supposedly lack in life are gone in an instant.  On the larger scale, all of the protests against the supposed bigotry and emotional ugliness of a man like President Donald Trump made by people sniping away at him from the freedom of our streets or the comforts of their homes are revealed to be the stupid, shallow, cowardly, petty intellectual exercises they really are when compared to the moment-by-moment, daily confrontations with suffering and death that people such as Samer must endure in cities like Raqqua.

Samer’s diary also reveals in its honesty and directness what the bloody skill of writing is supposed to be for.  Writing is supposed to move us, to change us.  Yet, how many pieces of writing can you name that actually did so?  I hope that this is one for you.


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