Lebanon’s answer to `The Kite Runner’

Advertisement

The book highlights the causes of extremism and its consequences, reports Asian Lite news

A Promise by Lebanese-Canadian author Antonio Roy shows how both sides in a faith-fuelled war lose everything they hold dear. Th­e novel has been banned in Lebanon for daring to portray a taboo relationship between Christian and Muslim during the country’s bloody civil war.

Antonio with his book, A Promise.
Antonio with his book, A Promise.

The novel sheds light on the drivers of extremism and the devastation it causes to ordinary people’s lives. Set during Lebanon’s bloody civil war of 1975 to 1990, A Promise is a hard-hitting yet thought-provoking work of historical literary fiction that paints the impact of inter-faith conflict on two lovers who find themselves divided in a war they had nothing to do with.

Told from the perspective of a young Palestinian Muslim, Rami, the novel follows his perilous quest to find the beautiful Dalal, who as a Christian is seen as the enemy but with whom he made a vow to remain faithful until their dying day.

Roy, who majored in conflict studies and human rights at university, said, “The Lebanese Civil War tore the country apart, claiming many victims including members of my family. I wanted to show the horrors that were faced, and perpetrated, by both sides.”

In writing the book, Lebanese-Canadian author Antonio Roy returned to Lebanon to interview survivors of the civil war from both sides, including members of his own family who had been members of the Christian militia.

A Promise challenges the reader’s preconceptions about extremism and takes Islamophobia to task by highlighting the fact that most Muslims want peace, not war. Speaking from his home in Ontario, Canada, Roy, 26, says he wanted to put a human face to religious conflict and show how desperate circumstances can push good people into extremism.

Front cover of A Promise
Front cover of A Promise

“The current troubles in Syria and Iraq, the rise of IS and refugee crises, have many precedents in the Lebanese Civil War. Through understanding the past, we can learn more about the present and how best to deal with it,” Roy added.