How Social Media Saved My Life – One Syrian’s Story

Author: Hassan Al Kontar

His only weapon was his cellphone.

When revolution and war broke out in his home country in 2011, Hassan Al Kontar was a young Syrian living and working in the UAE. A conscientious objector by faith and temperament, he refused to return to Syria for compulsory military service and lived illegally before being deported to Malaysia in 2017. Unable to obtain a visa for any other country, he became trapped in the arrivals zone at Kuala Lumpur Airport. Exiled by war and trapped by geopolitics, Al Kontar used social media and humour to tell his story to the world, becoming an international celebrity and ultimately finding refuge in Canada.

Man at the Airport explores what it means to be a Syrian, an “illegal” and a refugee. More broadly, it examines the power of social media to amplify individual voices and facilitate political dissent. Hassan Al Kontar was the first—but not the last—to galvanize international public opinion in his own defense.

  • Non-fiction, 232pp
  • ISBN 978-1-7770101-8-8 (paperback)
  • ISBN 978-1-7770101-9-5 (ebook)
  • 5.5″ x 8.5″
  • Publication date: May 2021
  • Paperback: CA $23.95 / US $18.95
  • Ebook: CA $8.95 / US $5.95

Hassan Al Kontar is a wonderful young man with a wise old soul. He is also a gifted storyteller telling important truths in a hugely readable style. Read the full review.

Paul Blezard, Love Reading UK

Man at the Airport is a testament to the power of one man’s quest for asylum, and how social media has the ability to harness that power – but this book is much more than that. It’s a window into Hassan Al Kontar’s ingenuity, resilience, and determination not to be drawn into the war in his homeland… [It] has a musicality all of its own, sung to us with honesty, grace, and astonishing courage. Read the full review.

Sheniz Janmohamed, Quill & Quire

A very good book about a courageous man in an outrageously preposterous situation (a bit like Catch 22). I enjoyed reading Hassan’s powerful account. Read the review.

Beverly Cramp, Publisher, BC Bookworld

Hassan Al Kontar’s powerful account of a journey propelled by dreams, family, escape, discrimination, imprisonment, injustice, perseverance and survival lays bare many of the deepest failings in our world. It is also a remarkable tale of courage, determination and triumph.

Alex Neve, Former Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada