Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Blog Tour: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

Title: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
Author: Atia Abawi
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: January 23, 2018

Narrated by Destiny, this heartbreaking -- and timely -- story of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria is masterfully told by a foreign news correspondent who experienced the crisis firsthand.

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.

In the wake of destruction, he's threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq's
family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

But while this is one family's story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

Destiny narrates this heartbreaking story of the consequences of war, showing the Syrian conflict as part of a long chain of struggles spanning through time.

An award-winning author and journalist--and a refugee herself--Atia Abawi captures the hope that spurs people forward against all odds and the love that makes that hope grow.

 I don't know if you've picked up on this quirk of mine, but I love playing with words. Whenever I see book or song titles, I think of puns or creative ways to spin them. So when I was thinking about a possible topic for Atia Abawi, I thought about the title of the book. I thought to myself, Wouldn't it be interesting to see what Abawi thinks about hellos, instead of goodbyes. From that point forward, I couldn't think of anything else.

Guest Post from Atia Abawi

Question: What would it be like to live in a world of permanent hellos?

What a beautiful land to envision. If you were a religious person I would say a land of permanent hellos would be similar to heaven. It’s a place where love and empathy is felt by all, so is joy and sorrow – without the latter two we couldn’t appreciate the former. Fear would be replaced with empathy. Hate replaced with love. Ignorance replaced with understanding or at least the will to try and understand. We would all still be different and unique. We would learn from each other as we embraced one another. Big cities like New York and London has a bit of this. I love sitting in a cafĂ© in one of these cities and just listening to the kaleidoscope of languages that walk through the door. Or walking down one of the streets and finding an array of global cuisine to choose from. I love that I can have Vietnamese Pho for lunch and then Syrian Kibbeh for dinner.

As a refugee in both Germany and America, I myself have lived in both worlds. When my family first arrived to both countries there were those who helped us and those who were afraid (and some who hated) us. But as a child I clung on tighter to the memories of the people who helped my family. The warmth of love and kindness filled me more than the hate did. But we also came at a different time, in the early 1980s, when we didn’t have exposure to 24-hour news and the internet – which seems to help spread fear and hate faster than wildfires. I wish more people would turn off their television and computers and then walkover to find their new neighbor who arrived from one of these war-ridden countries and have a conversation with them. I guarantee that would change so many perspectives.

So reading that... I teared up a little bit. It's beautiful, and I can only hope that one day, our world becomes more like the world of permanent hellos that Atia Abawi envisions. We have a long way to perfect, but a little kindness goes a long way. Please take her words to heart, and spread some kindness this year.

Atia Abawi is a foreign correspondent and author based in the Middle East.

From an early age, Atia knew she wanted to be a journalist. After graduating from Virginia Tech, where she anchored the college’s local television station VTTV, Atia volunteered and was then hired on at CTV 76 –a local TV station in Largo, MD. In Maryland, Atia covered a wide range of stories – from politics to the impact that drugs and crime had on the local community - before moving to Atlanta to work for CNN.

At CNN, she started in the Media Operations department before making her way to the international desk. Within 2-years Atia was out in the field, producing on stories that included Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in Pakistan and the war in Iraq. A year-later she was hired to be CNN’s Afghanistan correspondent and manager of its Kabul bureau – an operation that she organized and set up.

In Afghanistan, Atia spent time traveling and embedding with U.S., NATO and Afghan forces -including during major military operations. She has also interviewed numerous Afghan, International, and American politicians and generals.

Outside of Afghanistan, Atia reported on various international stories for CNN -including the Aung San Suu Kyi trial – where she had to sneak into Myanmar’s military state and film covertly - and the Gaza Flotilla attack of 2010 by Israeli forces.

In 2010, NBC News hired Atia to report and manage its operations in Afghanistan. Additionally, she also reported from London as part of NBC’s Royal wedding coverage, and was a part of the NBC News special report after the US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, providing analysis and commentary. She was also able to obtain an NBC Exclusive interview with President Hamid Karzai in 2012 - the first for the network in a decade.

After nearly 5-years of living in Afghanistan, Atia moved to Jerusalem in January 2013. In that year, she covered President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Israel and Palestine, the military coup in Egypt, and the Kenyan mall siege by Al-Shabab militants among other stories.

Atia’s first book, “The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan” was published by Philomel, an imprint of Penguin Group, in September 2014.

Atia Abawi graduated from Virginia Tech and was most recently awarded their Outstanding Alumna honor. She is fluent in Dari and Farsi. Born in Germany, she moved to America at the age of one, growing up in Fairfax County, Virginia. Atia is married to FOX News Correspondent Conor Powell.

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