Zerocalcare On Life, Politics, And Misconceptions About The Syrian War

Kobane Calling is a kind of book I wish most people would read, especially those interested in international affairs. However, it is that kind of book that a lot of people won't read; firstly because it is a graphic novel addressing a matter of importance - war. The cartoon medium is still grappling with general acceptance, especially with regards to heavy topics. Also, Kobane Calling reads in a way that confronts our perceptions about Muslims, the Middle East, Syrian war and the western countries role in it. These combinations make it an uncomfortable reading at times, but this is what makes the book potent.

Almost everyone with an interest in politics in today's world knows what is going on in Syria. Kobane Calling us a graphic novel exploring the experiences of an Italian cartoonist, Zerocalcare, (real name Michele Rech) who went into the region to experience first-hand what is going on there. Think of this as a journaling of some sort about people, events, and personal perspectives about what in Syria. The book covers many issues on the the region -women soldiers, unknown techniques Isis uses to gain upper hand, the calibre of people they recruit, the role of religion in the war, and the deliberate misconceptions manufactured in Europe and United States which has nothing to do with what is happening in the region.

Kobane Calling is witty and enjoyable read. Though few of the characters in the book had their identity changed for security reasons, their determination and essence still shine through. Kobane Calling shows how much in the thrall of modern news media we are and how deep we soak narratives that are presented to us without alternatives stories to counter it. Most importantly, Kobane Calling is a book without cheap and easy answers. It does not even attempt to set off in search of one. This is one of the best books I've read this year. Warmly recommended.

Kobane Calling is published by Lion Forge. Many thanks to them for the review copy.


  1. Please name the translator, too: Jamie Richards.


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