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ISBN: 9781777010188

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Man at the Airport

How Social Media Saved My Life: One Syrian's Story

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Man at the Airport explores what it means to be a Syrian, an “illegal” and a refugee. More broadly, it examines the power of social media to amplify individual voices and facilitate political dissent. Hassan Al Kontar was the first—but not the last—to galvanize international public opinion in his own defense.

Contributors

Hassan Al Kontar

When revolution and war broke out in his home country in 2011, Hassan Al Kontar was a young Syrian living and working in the UAE. A conscientious objector by faith and temperament, he refused to return to Syria for compulsory military service and lived illegally before being deported to Malaysia in 2017. Unable to obtain a visa for any other country, he became trapped in the arrivals zone at Kuala Lumpur Airport. Exiled by war and trapped by geopolitics, Al Kontar used social media and humour to tell his story to the world, becoming an international celebrity and ultimately finding refuge in Canada.

Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price

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- 5 $0.50

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In the opening chapter, Al Kontar reflects on the Syrian Civil War and his childhood on an olive farm in Sweida. 7 $0.70

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In this chapter, the author describes his experiences as a law student in Syria, and his first international trip to Abu Dhabi. 5 $0.50

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This chapter details the author’s experiences in Abu Dhabi and Dubai as he tried to make friends and find work. He was in the UAE when the conflict in Syria began. 15 $1.50

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In this chapter, Al Kontar describes his inner conflict as he observed the deepening conflict in Syria from the United Arab Emirates. 18 $1.80

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This chapter describes the author’s time in jail for overstaying his work visa, the death of his father, and his deportation to Kuala Lumpur. 30 $3.00

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In this chapter, the author outlines how he became trapped in Malaysia after attempting to fly to Equador. 18 $1.80

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This chapter describes Al Kontar’s plight: no visa, no way home, and no way out of the airport in Kuala Lumpur. He turned to social media to share his story and seek help. 19 $1.90

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In this chapter, Al Kontar discusses the media’s reaction to his social media campaign, and how the Western and Arab media organizations differed in their coverage. 13 $1.30

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This chapter covers the author’s attempts to seek refuge in Canada. 11 $1.10

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In this chapter, Al Kontar writes about his growing fame, and his interactions with people whose interest in him was motivated by selfish reasons. 11 $1.10

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Trapped at the airport for six months, Al Kontar connects with Nuseir Yassin, a social media content creator with millions of followers. 10 $1.00

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This chapter covers the author’s arrest by Malaysian authories, his detention in jail, and a visit from an employee of the Canadian High Commision that changed his life. 32 $3.20

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In the final chapter, Al Kontar writes about his experiences in British Columbia, and his Operation#NotForgotten campaign to aid refugess trapped on Manus and Nauru. 10 $1.00