“This is really a David versus Goliath story, where David is a woman.”
This is how Gayle describes Tsmash Lemon her The film “Kobane Girls,” which tells how an all-female Kurdish militia in a small town in Syria fought alongside US Special Forces to push back ISIS in the area.
Lemmon will bring this thriller to life on Monday, January 23, when she opens her 2023 non-fiction author series, sponsored by the nonprofit Friends of Collier County Library.
The four-morning event series, which raises money for Collier County’s public library system, will be at the Kensington Country Club in Naples and include a full hot breakfast buffet. The series is sold out, but Friends are keeping a waiting list. (See the info box for details.)
Lemon, whose father fled his native Iraq due to religious persecution, has been sucked into the urgent chaos of armed conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and the rest of that region.
I grew up in a community of single mothers in Maryland—women who never graduated from college and worked multiple jobs to support their children. As a result, Lemmon has dedicated a large portion of her career to documenting how female entrepreneurship and the rise of financial independence help combat systemic violence against women and girls.
All three of her books were The New York Times Best seller. “Khair Khana Tailor“ The film is about a young female entrepreneur whose business creates jobs and hope for women in her neighborhood in Kabul, Afghanistan, under Taliban rule. “Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Female Soldiers on the Special Operations Battlefield,” focuses on First Lieutenant Ashley White, part of an all-female Army unit handpicked to serve on the battlefield alongside Army Rangers, Green Berets, Navy SEALs and others on sensitive missions in Afghanistan.
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Publishers Weekly wrote about The Girls of Cuba, Lemon delivers “a remarkable portrait. … This deeply reported account is informative and captivating.”
Lemon said of the fighters in Kobani: “I want readers to remember that these women are not superhumans. They were just ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances, who rose to the challenge put before them.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen, collectively, a picture of 30 young women in uniforms, smiley face socks, braids in their hair, carrying Kalashnikovs, going to fight the Islamic State.”
The author—currently a senior associate fellow for women and foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, and formerly a journalist whose credits range from ABC News and CNN to PBS NewsHour and the Financial Times—answered these questions before speaking Jan. 23. in Naples.
Naples Daily News: Your vivid battle descriptions made me dizzy and dizzy. I sat in the comfort of my home in Florida and read about these women and men fighting street by street, bullets running over their heads, to take back their cities. Do you feel emotional or cultural trauma between war zones and the United States?
Gael Tsmash Lemon: It’s an excellent question, and the answer is both. It is an honor to spend time with people who have faced so much suffering and who have experienced so much brutality while working to keep their humanity intact. It’s also a challenge to navigate the worlds when you realize that people in the United States don’t always see the courage shown by the people who fight so valiantly every day for their communities.
NDN: The amazing picture is that the combat commander, Rojda, receives her daily phone call from her mother in the midst of battle. How have mobile phones, the internet and social media changed the way battles are fought and how the world views these conflicts?
Convert gas to liquids: The speed and accessibility that technology enables puts everyone within reach, even when their circumstances may be very different. They put different circumstances at hand and cut back on physical distances, even when emotional distances remain very much in place.
NDN: You do multiple interviews to get your depth of detail, especially describing the fighting piece by piece in Kobane. But how do you see through the eyes of the people you’re eating with, and how do you trust people’s memories of those intimate first-person memories?
Convert gas to liquids: It’s something I think about a lot – how to show the world how people saw it and reconstruct some of the most challenging moments in their lives. It’s about building trust, about asking the same questions over and over, and about sharing the little details that people remember most.
NDN: What is the status of film and television adaptations of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s “Kobani’s Girls” and Reese Witherspoon’s “Ashley’s War”?
Convert gas to liquids: Both projects are in the process of being adapted to the screen with teams focusing on their telling with authenticity and care.
NDN: What are we going to do with Turkey, which, it is fair to say, is an unreliable ally and is exacerbating the situation for NATO? Their aggression against the Kurds has killed tens of thousands and continues to this day.
Convert gas to liquids: Diplomacy and dialogue are the key to a safe and secure future for the entire region.
Nonfiction Authors Series
what: Author Lectures and Breakfast Raising Funds for the Collier County Public Library System
where: Kensington Country Club, 2700 Pine Ridge Road, Naples
when: Breakfast (hot and cold buffet) is served at 8:30 am; The authors speak at 9:15 a.m., followed by a book signing
Author lineup: Gayle Tsmash Lemon“Kobani Girls,” Monday, January 23; Amy Jagda“Search and Conceal: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy,” Monday, February 6; Bob Harrig, “Tiger & Phil: Golf’s Greatest Rivalry,” Monday, February 27; And Amanda M Fairbanks, The Lost Boys of Montauk: The True Story of in the wind“Four Men Disappeared at Sea, and the Survivors Left Behind,” Monday, March 20
the tickets: The series is currently sold out, but Friends is keeping a waiting list. To be put on the waitlist, call Marilyn Haywood, Buddy Program Manager, at 239-262-8135, or email her in firstname.lastname@example.org. Series ticket $285 for members and $325 for non-members. No single event tickets will be sold. Friends membership starts at $30 per year. For more information, go to collier-friends.org.