Lebanese-Canadian author shares her story of survival and hope
Nora El Najjar says that three things helped her survive the Lebanese Civil War which led to the destruction of her home, the deaths of her grandfather, father, and brother, the loss of her child; and also an unhappy marriage – her faith in the value of resilience, her belief that hope survives in the most unlikely places, and her lifelong dream of returning to Canada, where she briefly lived as a young girl.
Lebanese-Canadian El Najjar shares her story in the recently self-published memoir, Life of a Promise. Najjar recounts how she came back to a country she loved after surviving targeted killings and indiscriminate bombardments and death walks through minefields, nights of terror in underground shelters, abusive relationships, and multiple, hair-rising escapes by land and sea.
She says that through it all, what kept her going was her dream of living peacefully again in Canada.
El Najjar first came to Canada with her family when she was just a little child. She says she “loved the beautiful scenery of BC, the kindness of people and above all, freedom”. When her parents decided to return to Lebanon, she promised herself that she would find her way back to the place she thought of as home.
In this book, she shares her journey of growing up in wartime, and how she learned to become her own hero and cheerleader, rejecting despondency and embracing goodwill and hope. This is her story of being able to return to Canada and “the life of freedom after four decades of wishing and planning”.
According to her, the book is about “the universality of human nature and the futility of war”. She speaks of her faith in the goodness of the human heart and its capacity to “transform the junk of life into art and beauty”.
El Najjar as been living in Canada since 2013 , an avid community volunteer, a fulltime mother , painter and is currently working on her second book. She says that Lebanon will always be in her heart as her birth place and the cradle of her memories.
“To all those seeking new adventures, opportunities, or following their dreams like I did, Canada will be a welcoming home . All immigrants have their own story to tell , they can either write it down or be that story as they live it,” she says.
Life of a Promise can be purchased from Amazon ( ebook and paperback) and from McNally &Robinson booksellers.