Book review: ‘The Beauty of Your Face’ by Sahar Mustafah

Sahar Mustafah is an award-winning author. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Book review: ‘The Beauty of Your Face’ by Sahar Mustafah

CHICAGO: “We are a religion of peace, not terror. We are Americans, too.” From the city of Chicago comes the incredible story by award-winning author Sahar Mustafah “The Beauty of Your Face.” As a first-generation Palestinian-American, Afaf Rahman struggles with complicated relationships, her own identity and sense of belonging and her responsibility to keep herself and her family from drowning in despair when her 17-year-old sister disappears one night.

Readers first meet Mustafah’s main character in the suburbs of Chicago. As a mom and principal of the Islamic Nurrideen School for Girls, Rahman’s life has its own complexities. These all seem trivial, however, when teachers and students at the school come under attack from a radicalized active shooter.

As Rahman attempts to understand the situation, she falls back into memories of the path that has brought her to this point. Her life has never been easy, and it does not seem to be getting any easier.

Mustafah creates a unique yet relatable immigrant experience with her cast of characters, a family of five: Baba, Mama, Nada, Rahman, and Majeed. Her story pays homage to Chicago, its incredible communities and how these have transformed. It is not difficult for readers to immediately become invested in her characters as they adapt to trying and ever-changing circumstances.

The author masterfully captures the hopes and disappointments of the American dream and the traumas and joys that shape the relationships between children and their immigrant parents. This story shows bright moments while not shying away from harsh realities as Rahman’s family faces prejudice, discrimination, and financial crises.

Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim undergoes 6-hour surgery after Beirut explosion 

Updated 05 August 2020

Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim undergoes 6-hour surgery after Beirut explosion 

DUBAI: Lebanese actress Nadine Nassib Njeim revealed on Instagram that she underwent a six-hour surgery after a massive explosion ripped through Beirut on Tuesday, killing over 100 people and injuring thousands. 

“Half my face and my body were covered in blood,” said Njeim, who lives close to the port area where the explosion happened, captioning a video – shot by someone else – of her damaged apartment.

“I thank God first, who saved my life. The explosion was close, and the scenes you see do not do it justice. If you visit the house and see the blood everywhere, you would be surprised as to how we are still alive,” the star, who has two children, wrote captioning the clip that shows shattered glass, cracked walls and broken furniture strewn all over her living room.

According to her post, the star went down 22 floors, barefoot and covered in blood and sought help from a man who was in his car. 

“He dropped me to the nearest hospital, but they refused to admit me because they were packed with wounded people,” she said. “He dropped me to another hospital where they immediately took me in and I underwent a six-hour operation.” 

The 36-year-old actress said her children were not home and are “fine and safe.”

Multiple Lebanese celebrities have also taken to social media to share videos of their destroyed homes. 

Singer Haifa Wehbe shared, on her Instagram Stories, clips of the destruction that ravaged her home. “We are all okay thank God. My house is next to the explosion,” she wrote to her followers before asking them to keep her house helper, who got injured in her head and eyes, in their prayers.

Clips circulated on social media of Lebanese fashion designer Dalida Ayach, who is also the wife of singer Ramy Ayach, in the hospital being treated for her injuries. 

Singer Elissa, who recently released a new album, took to Twitter to share pictures of the aftermath of the explosion. “It affected the metals and the properties this time, but who will bring back the dead? Who will bring back Beirut?” the star wrote.

Singer Ragheb Alama’s house also got destroyed, but luckily, he and his family were on a trip outside the city.

The ateliers of renowned Lebanese designers have also been ruined, including Maison Rabih Kayrouz and Ralph Masri’s flagship stores.

Taking to his Stories, Kayrouz shared videos of the damage caused by the explosion to his atelier. “Our courageous team trying to save… what could be saved!” the designer captioned one clip of one of the atelier workers pulling out clothing from the debris.