Book Mayada Daughter Of Iraq English Literature Essay

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Jean Sasson is a well-known writer and a lecturer and her area of specialty is Middle Eastern society and particularly women of this area. She has a background in medical studies and she got an opportunity to serve in Saudi Arabia where she interacted with royal family of kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In this background she wrote her books "Princes""Princess Sultana's daughter" and"Princes Sultana's circle". Her other books include "love in a Torn land""Ester'schild""The rape of Kuwait"and"Growing up bin laden". "For the love of a son" is the latest book by jean sasson about a woman and her struggle of Afghanistan. At present she is living in America and visits Middle East frequently.

Mayada because of her affluent family background spent her vacations with royal family of Iraq and at later stage of life she visited Beirut for higher studies.As a professional feature writer she joined a local newspaper and got intention of saddam Hussein because of her creative style of writings.Saddam Hussein invited her to his royal palace and awarded her cash prize and certificate and encouraged her to continue to follow the path of her grandfather Sati-Al-Husri who inspired the whole Arab world with his impressive writings.

Sasson tells that Saddam Hussein rule was based on four "black doors" namely Iran -Iraq war, Gulf war, UN sanctions and internal security apparatus of Baathist party. Saddam Hussein exploited each of these doors to extend and secure his dictatorial rule in Iraq. As a reporter Mayada got a rare opportunity to interview chemical ali a cousin of saddam Hussein and one of the most powerful and merciless person in the government of Iraq. His "democratic exercise" gave Mayada the real view about the personality of chemical Ali and after that she experienced a change in her internal life. Mayda had interaction with another high profile official Dr.Fadil who used to visit her home in order to consult the collection of books of her grandfather. Through Dr.Fadil, Mayada helped many poor Iraqi families on several occasions although Dr.Fadil was not very happy to do that favor for Mayada and on several occasions he admonished her to refrain from such acts.

This book is more than a mere story of an Iraqi woman. It touches the history of Iraq and then explores the regional and internal politics of Iraq. It helps to understand the situation of Iran - Iraq war (1980-1988) and the elements which played key role in determining and sustaining this war "the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments were the ones issuing funds for payments. Iran had become the neighborhood bully, and the Al-Sabah family of Kuwait and Al-Saud family of Saudi Arabia were rewarding Iraqis for keeping Iran off their own backs".

Mayada married to a man of her own choice but later on divorced and started living with her two children. She managed to start her own printing business but suddenly life took a turn and she was arrested and detained by secret police in "Baldiyat"a headquarter of Iraqi secret police in Baghdad. She was thrown into a cell-52 where 17 other "faceless" and "nameless" women were already there .All these prisoners of cell-52 are referred as "shadow women" by sasson and each one of them represents a story of misery and the brutal experience of torture. Here Samara becomes a source of strength for Mayada who encourages her to remain positive, as each of shadow women has to face and bear brutal torture not for themselves but for the sake of their children. In cell-52 Mayada inspires every one by sharing her golden memories and the way her family was well connected with elite of Baghdad before and after Baathist revolution and her personal experience with saddam Hussein and his associates.

At certain points reader gets a feeling that if author is trying to justify Gulf war particularly from American perspective, especially when she writes "but this second war came and went so rapidly, with the bulk of the allied bombs precisely hitting their military targets and rarely straying into residential areas, that she felt it a mere skirmish in comparison to the Iranian war". This raises some doubts about the neutrality of author.

More over the way Jean Sasson repeatedly and nakedly describes the torture episodes under saddam Hussein's regime it brings the reader in a horrifying situation and one does not feel comfortable while reading. "They bound my hands and feet to the chair I was sitting in.Then, imagine my horror when they hooked a battery charger up to my ears. Before I could protest ,the polite man turned the electricity on full force and stood there laughing at my pain and terror" On repeated occasions there is undue mixing of torture events with some events of history or some very soft moments of Mayada's life .This editing design makes reading of this book a little bit challenging task. The better division of the chapters and contents of the book could make things more understandable and simple for the reader.

In the end of the book appendices have been added,in which a speech of Winston Churchill as a member of British parliament in 1921 about Iraq and important developments in Iraq from the beginning of the rule of King Faisal have been given. Glossary is also part of the book which helps the reader to understand certain unfamiliar terms and expressions.

Jean sasson has done a good job by bringing out the details of Iraq particularly autocratic rule of saddam Hussein in a quite different way. Her personal experience of extensive living and traveling Middle East combined with the firsthand knowledge of Mayada-Al-Askari makes this book more meaningful and authentic. For all those having interest in study of Middle East and particularly students of history and politics, who want to know about history, culture, and political journey of modern Iraq, and above all about Saddam Hussein, and his associates this book is a valuable addition.

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