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A hope more powerful than the sea: the journey of Doaa al Zamel

A hope more powerful than the sea: the journey of Doaa al Zamel

Fleming, Melissa (Communication director), author

This is the story of Doaa, an ordinary girl from a village in Syria, who in 2015 became one of five hundred people crammed on to a fishing boat setting sail for Europe. The boat was deliberately capsized, and of those five hundred people, eleven survived; they were rescued four days after the boat sank. Doaa was one of them - her fiancé Bassem, with whom she had fled, was not; he drowned in front of her. Melissa Fleming, the Chief Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, heard about Doaa and the death of 489 of her fellow refugees on the day she was pulled out of the water. She decided to fly to Crete to meet this extraordinary girl, who had rescued a toddler when she was nearly dead herself. They struck an instant bond, and Melissa saw in Doaa the story of the war in Syria embodied by one young woman

Hardback, Book. English.
Published London: Fleet, 2017
from 1 user

Available at Central Library and Tettenhall Library.

  • Central Library – One available in 920/ALZ

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    X4000000038282 920/ALZ Adult Non-Fiction Available
  • Tettenhall Library – One available in 920/ALZ

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    X4000000038283 920/ALZ Adult Non-Fiction Available


Statement of responsibility: Melissa Fleming
ISBN: 1408708434, 9781408708439
Physical Description: 274 pages ; 24 cm
Subject: Al Zamel, Doaa.; Refugees Syria Social conditions.; Boating accidents Mediterranean Sea.; Politics and Government.

Author note

Melissa Fleming is Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Her TED talk on the subject of refugees has been viewed more than 800,000 times. She writes regularly for the Guardian.


Melissa Fleming's tale of a young Syrian woman's search for peace and safety is a book written for our times. Fleming captures the unremitting fear, the crushing despair, and the glint of hope for a better life that drive families to risk everything and sail the treacherous seas. On every page, loss and hope tangle. On every page, the human toll of the worst humanitarian crisis of our time is painfully, heartbreakingly brought home. This is an emotional read, at times painful, but it is above all a poignant tribute to hope, to resilience, and to the capacity for grace and generosity that dwells deep in the human heart||In a few years, when people will look back at our current time of conflicts, dislocation, and displacement, the story of Doaa al-Zamel - and of those she saw die, and of the new life she saved?will stand out as one of its defining narratives