Readers begin to appreciate what, and how much, they do not know. If this is Yazbek’s work between just March and July of 2011, how many bookshelves could the Syrian story fill? We feel awake splashing our face daily in water – we feel we have caught up having read the news. But every day we learn nothing further, nothing more – the water splashes skin deep. Yazbek’s book tattoos the mind.
Before the revolution, Khalifa sometimes had regrets about writing ‘The Shell’. But since then, “the revolution has obligated the regime to show off all the barbarism, without restriction, in front of the cameras.” And when “young readers […] told me very clearly that what prompted them to take part in the uprising against the dictatorship had been […] reading ‘The Shell’, my fears and troubled faded into the background. It was a relief.”