Thursday, July 30 2015

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War and Occupation in Iraqi Fiction

War and Occupation in Iraqi Fiction book

Author: Ikram Masmoudi

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press, 2015

Hardcover: 248 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0748696550

Review by Nahrain Al-Mousawi

The Iraqi war canon has been overtaken by American military accounts. US military titles have been published and promoted with regularity while war literature by Iraqi authors has consistently been ignored or left untranslated. In Iraqi literature, the occupation is presented as almost an exclusively American event. Post-occupation Iraqi fiction, or post-2003 fiction, is largely absent from the literary accounts of the war in the US. This is why Ikram Masmoudi's War and Occupation in Iraqi Fiction, published this year, is a necessary and welcome intervention.


Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq

Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in IraqAuthor: Ali Issa
Publisher: Tadween Publishing
Published date: June 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1939067166

Review by Emmanuela Eposti

Utter the name "Iraq" today and a whole host of unpalatable spectres will be summoned in the mind of the listener; Iraq is synonymous with war, with sectarian bloodshed, with devastation, with insurgency and violence. A brief overview of the media shows that writing and commentary about Iraq almost inevitably follows the same patterns and formulas, the result of which, according to writer and activist Ali Issa, is that "people actually living in Iraq – their communities, dreams, and victories, big and small – are again and again made invisible."


Operation Ajax: The story of the CIA coup that remade the Middle East

Text: Mike Seve
Artwork: Daniel Burwen
Publisher: Verso Books
Paperback:248 pages

Review by: Amelia Smith

On a trip to Iran in 1977 a bazaar vendor told Stephen Kinzer: "we used to have a democracy here but then you came and took it away from us." As an American, Kinzer explains, a democracy in Iran did not fit with his preconceived ideas about the country so he set about investigating the vendor's comments. He found that very little had been written on the subject of its downfall in 1953.


Occupied Lives: Maintaining Integrity in a Palestinian Refugee Camp in the West Bank

Author: Nina Gren
Publisher: American University of Cairo Press, 2015
Published Date: May 2015
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN: 978-9774166952

Review by: Nahrain Al-Mousawi

In 2003 and 2004, Nina Gren was living in the Dhaheish refugee camp, which had become subject to extensive violence. Camp residents experienced curfews, house demolitions, nightly arrests, shootings, and beatings at an unprecedented rate. During the course of her fieldwork, Gren began to note that in this West Bank camp, known for its political activities, many inhabitants began to retreat from traditional forms of activism. While direct political activism was ubiquitous in the camp during the First Intifada (1987-1994), people began to practice another form of resistance during the al-Aqsa Intifada (2000-2005), according to Gren. She argues that sociality was transformed from politics to leading a "normal life"—through daily routines, "normalization" became a strategy of coping in the ongoing crisis of camp life under occupation. Besides routinization, sociality manifested itself in resilience, integrity, social continuity, and the maintenance of a moral community.


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