BROTHERS OF THE GUN
A Memoir of the Syrian War
A deeply personal account of life under ISIS in Syria. Marwan Hisham's stirring memoir is co-written and illustrated by the acclaimed artist and journalist Molly Crabapple.
BROTHERS OF THE GUN is an unusual and stunning memoir co-created by Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple who, together, have created an truly inspiring work. Marwan Hisham's story is told from the very beginning of the Syrian War in 2011 as he is about to start university. At the time Marwan, with two other friends, find themselves entering in to the first protests of the Arab Spring in Syria without much knowledge but with plenty of youthful anger and energy. They learned quickly how to march arm-in-arm and how to run from security forces, and who to hate. For them initially it represented change and an exciting new hope, helping the country to freedom from a brutal dictator. As the war progresses and Marwan's story continues, five years later the friends have gone different directions; one is now an Islamist revolutionary; another is dead at the hands of government soldiers; and Marwan is a journalist in Turkish exile, dreaming to find a way back home in Raqqa. He became a journalist by courageously tweeting out news from a city under siege by ISIS, the Russians, and the Americans, all at once. He watched the country that ran through his veins--the country that held his hopes, dreams, and fears--be destroyed in front of him, and eventually joined the relentless stream of refugees risking their lives to escape.
This is a story of pragmatism and idealism, impossible violence and repression, and, even in the midst of war, profound acts of courage, creativity, and hope. Molly Crabapple's stunning ink drawings 82 of them in all completely draw you in to as she reveals the beauty and the chaos of everyday life there during these difficult times. The book moves with narrative and visual power to tell a story of survival, and also offers the thoughtfulness and philosophical depth of literary war journalism like Orwell's Homage to Catolonia. The author vividly details life before, during, and after the war, and the choices forced on real people, trapped between a dictatorship, western killing machines, and the brutal soldiers of ISIS.
MaMarwan Hisham is a Syrian freelance journalist who since 2014 has covered Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Hisham found a sense of purpose when he took to Twitter--in defiance of occupying ISIS forces--to testify to the world what was happening as bombs fell on his besieged city. His keen and original observations quickly caught the attention of western reporters. He was soon writing for Vanity Fair, the New York Times, and the Intercept, among others, and appearing on CNN.
Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer in New York. She has drawn in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Dhabi's migrant labor camps, and with rebels in Syria and received widespread praise for her illustrated memoir DRAWING BLOOD. Crabapple has collaborated on celebrated projects with stars like Jay-Z, Bryan Stevenson, and Spike Jonze and is a contributing editor for Vice, and has written for the New York Times, the Paris Review, and Vanity Fair. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
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