Probably one of the most disturbing books to come out of the seven-year-old Syria war.
Syria war defies all logic and understanding.
Inspired by the Arab Spring, it started as a peaceful uprising against the rule of Bashar al-Assad.
Assad, heading the minority Alwite dictatorship, suppressed the protests violently.
The protester, in turn, took up arms.
Protests for a democratic change were soon hijacked by mercenaries and freebooters.
Now come along Islamic fundamentalists – Nusra Front, Islamic State et al – with their version of “pure Islam” that unleashed a reign of terror.
Add to the mix the Great Game politics with Iran, Russia, USA all joining the fray to advance their geo strategic interests.
The result is that after seven years of mayhem you do not know who is right and who is wrong.
The only truth that stares us in the face is: over 500,000 dead; millions are displaced; steady stream of refugees are heading towards safer havens in Western Europe (said to be the biggest migration since World War II) and an ancient country and civilization lying in utter ruins.
Yazbek is an Alwite and lives in exile in France. The Crossing was written in 2013. Naturally, a lot more has happened since it was published.
But it portrays the horror of what was – is – happening inside Syria in vivid details.
The last seven years have disfigured Syria beyond recognition.
In the years and the decades ahead, when the dust has been blown over and blood has dried up, people will turn to Yazbek’s book to see how a proud and civilized people has been torn asunder.
The Crossing bears testimony to man’s cruelty to man in a narrative that is extremely heart-rending.