BEIRUT, Lebanon — Bombs and shells from all sides continue to rain down on Yarmouk, the Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, as residents say the so-called Islamic States is taking ever-greater control. The jihadist assault that started April 1 has left residents trapped amid the rubble without medical aid or food while street fighting and heavy shelling by ISIS has overwhelmed Palestinian and Free Syrian Army forces trying to protect the camp. And to make matters works, the Syrian regime has been dropping barrel bombs and intensifying its own artillery barrages, raising fears it will invade with ground forces.
“It’s an absolute horror and I’m terrified,” says 27-year-old Tarek over Skype from near ISIS’s front lines. He is a longtime camp resident who became an activist in 2011 with the anti-regime protest movement. A human-rights organization put The Daily Beast in contact with him and he asked to be quoted only by a pseudonym for obvious security reasons.
It’s critical to remember that most chefs never earn Flay or Bourdain-level fame, but they are still grappling with the same crippling pressures, addictive temptations, and dark pasts—just in an anonymous state of near-poverty.
“The average guy or girl is making no money, working their ass off, and if you come from a place of emotional fragility, I could see someone saying, I’m done with this hamster wheel,” said Bernamoff.
“We go into this because we love what we do, but it could really drive someone to question their place in the world