Posted by Guest on October 17, 2016 in Blog

By Manel Zitoun

The rhetoric surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis has become increasingly negative towards those fleeing the war. Even if they make it to “safety” outside of Syria, they are often faced with discrimination and racism. And those are the lucky ones. Those managing to survive in the war torn country face an incomprehensible reality, the outlines of which are largely ignored.

To combat this Marvel and ABC News have decided to recreate the image of a hero to show a Syrian mother struggling to keep her family alive in Madaya. ABC News made the initial connection with a real-life mom from the town of Madaya, in hopes of finding a way to tell her story in an appealing way that would attract attention. Once they had their story, the connection with Marvel was made and Madaya Mom was born. As a superhero she has the heart of a warrior minus the stereotypical spandex. Dalibor Talajic from Croatia was selected to draw the comic because of his history of war living in the former Yugoslavia. Talajic describes Madaya’s journal entries as “hidden poetry that is devastating; she is a mother with children and throughout her words you see that the world doesn’t exist, the horror does exist, and the hope for the west to intervene is insignificant. At this point she is a mother, and that is all that matters to her.”

This comic serves as a reminder that not all heroes wear capes, and hopefully the story of Madaya can change the perception of refugees and can teach us to admire the perseverance of Syrians.

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Manel Zitoun is a Fall 2016 Intern at the Arab American Institute.