“I Have Faith This Country Will Keep Their Doors Open”

Published by LENNY LETTER

Lenny Letter è la newsletter settimanale ideata da Lena Dunham e Jennifer Konner per dare voce alle giovani voci femminili, autrici, giornaliste, personalità dello spettacolo o esistenze ordinarie, che scrivono di politica, vita quotidiana, letteratura contemporanea, cultura pop, musica. Fondata nel 2015, è ormai un cult e seguitissima in tutto il mondo.

La storia di Ibtisam Masto, rifugiata siriana emigrata negli Stati Uniti, tra cucina, interviste al telefono e speranze. 


The day I heard about Trump’s immigration ban, I spent most of the morning on Google Maps’ satellite view, looking at Ibtisam Masto’s new home in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s a long way from the one she left behind four years ago in war-torn Idlib, Syria. I haven’t seen her since she resettled to the Midwest, and I wondered what things looked like from her bright, blue eyes. I wondered what she’d been up to in her new brick home with a red door on a tree-lined street.

In 2014, I had met Ibtisam thousands of miles away, in Beirut, not long after she had fled Idlib in a packed bus with her six children and husband. When shrapnel landed on her balcony one cold Syrian afternoon, just narrowly missing her three-year-old son, she knew it was time to leave.

So, they left. Everything. She left her beloved mazhar, an Arab tambourine-like instrument, back in Syria, along with her favorite gold-rimmed teacups and sepia-toned family portraits. She also left behind one of her favorite cooking pots, given to her by her aunt on her wedding day. “I feel like I’ve lost myself,” she told me one sunny February morning in 2014. Before fleeing Idlib, she had not even been out of her own city, much less the country. And while Lebanon and Syria share similar cultures, fast-paced Beirut — with its noisy streets and, at times, cosmopolitanism that borders on snobbery — was a huge transition.