A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival

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The stunning story of a young woman, an international crisis, and the triumph of the human spirit.

Adrift in a frigid sea, no land in sight—just debris from the ship's wreckage and floating corpses all around—nineteen-year-old Doaa Al Zamel floats with a small inflatable water ring around her waist and clutches two children, barely toddlers, to her body. The children had been thrust into Doaa's arms by their drowning relatives, all refugees who boarded a dangerously overcrowded ship bound for Sweden and a new life. For days, Doaa floats, prays, and sings to the babies in her arms. She must stay alive for these children. She must not lose hope.

Doaa Al Zamel was once an average Syrian girl growing up in a crowded house in a bustling city near the Jordanian border. But in 2011, her life was upended. Inspired by the events of the Arab Spring, Syrians began to stand up against their own oppressive regime. When the army was sent to take control of Doaa's hometown, strict curfews, power outages, water shortages, air raids, and violence disrupted everyday life. After Doaa's father's barbershop was destroyed and rumors of women being abducted spread through the community, her family decided to leave Syria for Egypt, where they hoped to stay in peace until they could return home. Only months after their arrival, the Egyptian government was overthrown and the environment turned hostile for refugees.

In the midst of this chaos, Doaa falls in love with a young opposition fighter who proposes marriage and convinces her to flee to the promise of safety and a better future in Europe. Terrified and unable to swim, Doaa and her young fiance hand their life savings to smugglers and board a dilapidated fishing vessel with five hundred other refugees, including a hundred children. After four horrifying days at sea, another ship, filled with angry men shouting insults, rams into Doaa's boat, sinking it and leaving the passengers to drown.

That is where Doaa's struggle for survival really begins.

A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea is an emotionally charged, eye-opening true story that represents the millions of unheard voices of refugees who risk everything in a desperate search for the promise of a safe future. Melissa Fleming sheds light on the most pressing humanitarian crisis of our time and paints a vivid, unforgettable portrait of the triumph of the human spirit.

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About the author

MELISSA FLEMING is chief spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She travels to war zones and refugee camps to give voice to the millions of people forcibly displaced from their homes. She is frequently quoted in international media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and NPR. She first told Doaa's story on the TED stage and her talks are featured on TED.com.
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Reviews

4.8
5 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Flatiron Books
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Published on
Jan 24, 2017
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781250106018
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Human Rights
Social Science / Emigration & Immigration
Social Science / Human Services
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the Trade Paperback edition.
Warren St. John
BONUS: This edition contains a reader's guide.

The extraordinary tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town

Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’ s refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees.

Set against the backdrop of an American town that without its consent had become a vast social experiment, Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees and their charismatic coach. Warren St. John documents the lives of a diverse group of young people as they miraculously coalesce into a band of brothers, while also drawing a fascinating portrait of a fading American town struggling to accommodate its new arrivals. At the center of the story is fiery Coach Luma, who relentlessly drives her players to success on the soccer field while holding together their lives—and the lives of their families—in the face of a series of daunting challenges.

This fast-paced chronicle of a single season is a complex and inspiring tale of a small town becoming a global community—and an account of the ingenious and complicated ways we create a home in a changing world.
Melissa Fleming
A impressionante história de uma jovem, uma crise internacional e o triunfo do espírito humano. À deriva no mar gelado, sem terra à vista — apenas destroços do naufrágio da embarcação e cadáveres flutuando a sua volta —, a jovem de 19 anos Doaa Al Zamel flutua com uma pequena boia inflável na cintura e segura duas crianças pequenas junto ao corpo. As crianças foram confiadas aos braços de Doaa pelos parentes que se afogavam, todos refugiados a bordo de um barco perigosamente superlotado com destino à Suécia e a uma nova vida. Durante dias, Doaa flutua, reza e canta para as crianças. Deve continuar viva por elas. Não deve perder a esperança. Doaa Al Zamel era uma menina síria comum, criada em uma casa de uma cidade movimentada perto da fronteira com a Jordânia. Em 2011, porém, sua vida sofreu uma reviravolta quando os sírios começaram a se levantar contra seu próprio regime opressor. Sua família decidiu partir da Síria para o Egito, onde esperava ficar em paz até poder retornar ao país natal. Meses depois de sua chegada, o governo egípcio foi derrubado e o ambiente se tornou hostil para os refugiados. Em meio a este caos, Doaa se apaixona por um jovem que lhe propõe casamento e a convence a fugir para a promessa de segurança e um futuro melhor na Europa. Depois de quatro dias de tensão no mar num pesqueiro dilapidado com outros quinhentos refugiados, outro barco, cheio de homens furiosos, gritando insultos, abalroa o pesqueiro, afundando-o e deixando que os passageiros se afogassem. É nesse ponto que realmente começa a luta pela sobrevivência de Doaa. Melissa Fleming lança uma luz sobre a crise humanitária mais urgente de nossa época e traça um retrato inesquecível do triunfo do espírito humano.
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