By: Alice M.
ROME- Ripped jeans, a white t-shirt and a big smile on her face. Amani El Nasif was just a teenage girl, like me, when at the age of 16, her mother sent her to Syria with the trick of a mistake on the passport and a misspelled name that will change her life forever… “Something that will be fixed in a week maximum” her parents told her.
Born and raised in Bassano a little city in the northern Italy, she grew up as a classic Italian teenage girl: many friends, a boyfriend that she loved and a part-time job. She was living a very happy moment and was even more enthusiastic to go to Syria and get to know her origins, her family and the place where she belonged to. Unfortunately that Journey led to the loss of her “teenage dream”. Disastrously, she spent 399 days in that dreadful place, more than a year, hoping that all of this nightmare would end.
Amani later did many interviews to Italian newspapers to describe her daily routine in Syria. Almost every day her dad beat her because she was too “open-minded”, too “western”. Her father gave her in marriage to one of her cousins and to “raise the price” of that beautiful girl, he even tried to make her gain weight in order to show everyone Amani’s wealth and richness. One day she was even beaten up by her “future husband” and went to the hospital because of the many lesions. Obliged to swallow medicine that stunned her, constricted to work several hours a day in a little village and subjected to the worst mistreatment, Amani resisted for more than a year to this torture, never stopped fighting and never lost hope…
She started to write a book with a journalist, Cristina Obber, in order to remember her time spent in Syria. She also helped girls that were in the same situation as she had been and that needed some support. She wrote this book to introduce us to a completely different culture in all of its positive and negative aspects.
Amani finally returned to Italy after her father realizes the mistake he had committed. She says: “I still have nightmares but I learned to control them”. Now Amani is a woman in career and works for a multinational company. She has a 3 years old daughter and lives in Bassano with her Italian husband. Gratefully, she is one of the very few and courageous women who rebelled against the brides controlled by the leaders of the family. After getting rid of the veil and wear her normal clothes, she returned to laugh, dance and love and these are the dreams Amani had never gave up.