Daniel Levin was at his office in New York when he got a call from an acquaintance with an urgent, cryptic request to meet in Paris. A young man had gone missing in Syria. No government, embassy, or intelligence agency would help. Could he? Would he? This begins the suspenseful, shocking, and at times brutal true-life story, PROOF OF LIFE: Twenty Days on the Hunt for a Missing Person in the Middle East (Algonquin Books: May 18, 2021), that finds Levin, a lawyer turned armed-conflict negotiator, navigating the seedy and dangerous underbelly of the Middle East, where he encounters powerful sheiks, drug lords, and sex traffickers in pursuit of the truth. This is a job he now takes on every day…
Over the course of twenty intense days, Levin barters and negotiates his way through Istanbul, Beirut, Amman, and Dubai on a quest to find a young man who disappeared under suspicious circumstances. This dangerous journey brings him into contact with the shadowy world of the underground war economy where everything is for sale, and he sees first-hand the power of the industries that endlessly fuel these conflicts—the trade of cash, goods, weapons, drugs and most devastatingly, people.
Daniel Levin is available for interviews starting on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. I would love to get you a copy of the book and schedule an interview. Please let me know if you prefer PDF or hard copy (provide address).
There are upcoming presidential elections in Syria on May 26, which members of the UN Security Council have deemed “a sham” based on the fact that no new constitution will be put into place, and the election is taking place in an ongoing climate of fear and conflict. Levin addresses this and the narrative that Assad has won the war in the book’s postscript.
How did you get involved in this search and what elements of your background made you the ideal person to help?
How is Syria different and similar from other Middle Eastern wars and wars around the world?
What are these tools and what steps did you take on this specific mission to track down the missing person? How did this specific mission differ from previous experiences in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Gaza?
What can you tell us about this captagon, the “ISIS’ favorite amphetamine” and how it funds the Middle Eastern war economy? The coverage of Captagon has been gaining a lot of steam over the past weeks, especially due to panic in Saudi Arabia over the influx of the drug.
Current discussions of hostages in the Biden administration and the errors that have been made by the US government during negotiations as well as the US’ notable recent public statement that they believe American journalist Austin Tice is still alive
In addition to captagon, the war economy thrives on the trade of cash (money laundering through global financial institutions), weapons (chemical weapons and American-supplied artillery originally earmarked for opposition fighters) and people (hostages, prisoners, and children for labor and sex slavery). How do each of these trades keep the war going, and what did you learn about these industries during your quest?
PROOF OF LIFE is a fast-paced thriller wrapped in a memoir, a must-read for anyone interested in power dynamics, international affairs, hostage situations, or the Middle East.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: https://www.daniellevinauthor.com/ The son of a diplomat, Daniel Levin spent his early years in the Middle East and in Africa and then trained as a lawyer. Currently a board member of the Liechtenstein Foundation for State Governance, he has, for the past twenty years, worked with governments and development institutions worldwide, focusing on economic development and political reform through financial literacy, political inclusion, and constitutional initiatives. He is also engaged in track 3 diplomacy and mediation efforts in war zones. Levin’s first book, Nothing but a Circus: Misadventures among the Powerful, was published in Germany, Japan, Russia, and the UK. Proof of Life is his first book to be published in the United States. He lives outside New York City.