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My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Revolution
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'This is a love letter to Syria, a story of rebuilding a beautiful Damascene house as a beloved country falls apart. Read it and you will discover a Syria that lies behind our daily headlines ... This book takes you on a journey through a difficult history to discover a deep heritage, and won't leave you without hope.' - Lyse Doucet, BBC Chief International Correspondent

'Diana Darke takes as her focus the prism of an ancient building and produces a book that will outlive the conflict it describes. The pages devoted to the illiterate caretaker, Abu Ashraf, are alone worth the price of admission, for in him is invested all the humanity Syria so badly needs for its future. A superbly written book.' - Marius Kociejowski, author of The Street Philosopher and the Holy Fool: A Syrian Journey

How did Syria's revolution lose its way? My House in Damascus illuminates the darker recesses not just of Syria's history and politics, but also its society and secrets. Drawing on the author's firsthand knowledge of Syria's many communities, this book explains why Syria was always a special case and why the Assad regime was never as likely to collapse as those in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Written from the unique perspective of an Arabic-speaking British woman, Diana Darke became deeply embedded in all levels of Syrian society when she bought and restored a house in Damascus. In September 2012, as fighting intensified, she offered her house as a sanctuary to Syrian friends, Up to forty people continue to find refuge there today. By following her experiences and struggles with the realities of life on the ground from the 1970s till the present day, readers will arrive at their own conclusions about why Syria remains locked in conflict and why an estimated 75% of the population - the 'silent majority' - remain undecided between a repressive government and the splintering opposition.

A proportion of the list price of the book will be donated to a Higher Education Fund for Syrians, the Said Foundation, a charity dedicated to providing young Syrians with the skills and support to become a new generation of leaders. Syria has suffered terrible physical and psychosocial destruction over the past three years, and the political transition after the conflict has subsided will inevitably be fragile. Skilled leadership with well-educated support will be essential to help steer the country through this critical post-conflict period.

The Said Foundation also supports Syria Relief, a charity set up by Syrians in 2011 to bring humanitarian and medical relief to the parts of Syria where UN and other international agencies have not been permitted to operate. Click here to read more about these charities.

Diana Darke is a fluent Arabic speaker and has specialised in the Middle East for over 30 years. The owner of an old courtyard house within the walls of Old Damascus, she is well known as an authority on Syria and is a contributor to the Guardian, the Financial Times and the BBC. Diana Darke is the author of several guides to Syria and Eastern Turkey. For more information visit dianadarke.com

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