Monday 30 of January, 2023
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Heroic Tale of Syrian Refugee Fleeing Egypt to Be Adapted by Lena Dunham, Sparking Outrage

Maybe they’ll cast Scarlett Johansson to play her.

Staff Writer

Doaa Al Zameel is a young Syrian refugee and mother who survived two days in open water while fleeing Egypt with her fiancé and children to seek refuge in Sweden. Zameel held her children afloat during the perilous journey as well as many others while their shaky boat was rammed by a particularly hostile Egyptian fishermen. This is a tale of war, persistence, motherhood, and surviving in the face of a world who couldn't care less.

It is a tale of the courage to live and fight on in the face of adversity.

Doaa Al Zameel is one of countless refugees worldwide with a story unsung. Her story is documented in a book titled "A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea" One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival," by Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner and Flatiron Books.

Zameel fled Egypt with her two children by boat to Sweden. Their boat gets shipwrecked, and Zameel survived for days adrift at sea holding her children in her arms with nothing to hold them up but an inflatable water ring and the tenacity of a mother who demands a better life for her, her family, and the people with her on the journey to freedom.

Once news broke about the “adaptation”, people took to twitter to express concern over the potential cultural appropriation of the refugee's story by Dunham, while others immediately went on the offensive, check out some of the Tweets on the matter:

@arabized called upon prominent actors of color Riz Ahmed and Mindy Kaling to speak out against Dunham's involvement in the project: "Can you guys please please voice a complaint? I don’t want Lena to tell my family’s story as a Syrian."



"What makes her think she can speak accurately about the refugee experience? Please stop this while you’re ahead of a disaster." says @CatOuellette.


"Not the person who needs to be this voice, yikes," said @katarinahit.

"Because clearly there’s no one who knows that demographic better than a spoiled, talentless, young, rich white girl," adds @keithmontesano. "Yikes."


"Willing to bet this...will not go well," predicts @psyourewrong.


"There’s not one supportive comment here!" @Popculjunkie in a response to the replies to the Variety tweet. "She’s the worst."


Many other were at a loss for words, responding only in pictures and GIFS:



Hopefully Hollywood will pay attention to this time and get a hint. This story deserves to be told accurately and handled with the upmost respect, and not through the narrow scope of people who could never understand the experience.



Main Photo: Marie Claire