A review of 66 Minutes in Damascus, first published in The Arab Review
The hood smells like cigarettes and old sweat, its blackness tempered by the sliver of light coming through its frayed seams. I can hear my heart thumping in my chest and feel the cold, rough surface of the wall in front of me. Suddenly, someone grabs me from behind, roughly forces me into a chair and whips the hood off. I can see nothing except the orange glow of a lit cigarette, pulsating in the darkness, held by an invisible hand who speaks to me in a thick Arab accent.
“If you don’t tell me who sent the report then I will make you vomit the milk your mother fed you as a baby. Do you understand me?”
For a moment in the smoke-filled darkness, unsure of where I am or what will happen to me, I feel the cold fingers of fear slip around my throat; but then I remember that this isn’t real, this is just an act.