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[casi] [1] al-Salahi book about 1991 Iraqi intifada? [2] the people of Iraq

> The book is called "al-Zilzal" (The Earthquake).
> Table of contents and precis are at:
> (author usually transliterated as Salihi or Salhi not Salahi)
> I haven't read the book (and would be interested in hearing from anyone
> who has, too)

Thank you Glen.  List members might be interested in knowing that the full
book is online in Arabic at the site that you mentioned above.

I've just heard from someone who has read the book.  She found it an
incredibly detailed account of the 1991 intifada.  While she's read many
accounts of this in Arabic, she found this particularly interesting as an
army officer's account.  He was retreating with his troops through Basra
when the uprisin was just beginning and, while sympathetic to it, found
himself wondering who the people involved in it were, and what sort of plans
they had for people like himself.  She thought that these questions were
relevant today as well, as new upheaval is contemplated.  She found it good,
accurate and honest.  Much of it is based on first hand accounts, although
some of it has been assembled later.

The US' Foreign Broadcast Information Service has apparently produced a
rough English translation of it for US government officials' use.

Roger Stroope wrote:

> What was fascinating to me, the responses of the people.  ... I was
> further amazed at the lack of bitterness expressed towards the people of
> US, even towards our government.  ... I was touched by their understanding
> the situations, their demeanor, and how open they were with this strange
> woman asking them questions. ...
> After the program I loved the people of Iraq more.  Oppressed but not
> hateful.  Beat-up but not broken. ...

I agree entirely.  I have been impressed by precisely this on the two
occasions that I have visited Iraq.

I have increasingly come to believe that this sort of human contact is
essential if Americans and Brits are to try to understand Iraqis' feelings
and thoughts.  Unicef mortality figures are terrible at an intellectual
level, but ultimately sterile.  In a bitter irony, although the Iraqi
government would like to see sanctions lifted, its internal repression means
that Brits and Americans only see one Iraqi - and not one with whom they
sympathise - preventing exactly the sort of empathy that is necessary to
move people in the US and the UK.


Colin Rowat

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