Monday, May 01, 2006

Between Two Worlds: Escape From Tyranny : Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam

Life is never easy. But it takes on exceptional rough turns when it is under a dictator. That's what this book is about; the life of the author as she grew up under the shadow of Saddam Hussein. After choosing 3 fairy tales from the library, I picked this one just to balance the intellectual intake. Little did I know, I was in for an emotional upheaval.

Islam as a religion has always been a mystery to me though there were many good Muslim friends in my life. Religion is always a sensitive issue to discuss and in the wake of million deaths in the name of religion, when it is 'cool' to be secular, the last thing I wanted to do was jeopardize the few relationships in my life, in my quest for knowledge.

This book by Zainab Salbi opens a whole new world to you. A world where tolerance is as much a part as it is in ours, a world torn by differences in sects and castes just like ours, a world where willing followers were led into darkness by an incompetent and despotic leader, who felt the whole world was his birthright since he was denied a happy childhood.

The fear that Zainab speaks of here can never be completely understood by anyone who hasn't lived in such a dark cage; when you feel the walls closing in and you realise the only place you can run is the arms of the Devil himself. It is heart-wrenchingly tragic and numbingly true. For each one of you who wants to know Why Iraqis let all this happen, this book is a must.

For all its plus points, the only thing that nags me is that such a prominent figure like Zainab (she is the founder n president of Women for Women International) should write a book that has typos. I know, I am being silly but then, I would expect someone in her position who has access to the best proof readers in the country to give me a grammatically correct book, if not a politically correct one. It's her story, after all.

That aside, I truly liked this memoir and spent 30 minutes talking about it to Appa, long distance. It has also motivated me to read beyond the first 100 pages of this other awesome book, 'The World of Fatwas' by Arun Shourie, which takes us into the minds of Indian Muslims. The only deterrent has been Mr. Shourie's love for bombastic words which hamper the flow as I need to refer the dictionary every 10th word.


Blogger Me said...

Religion is a sensitive issue and it takes a lot of attitude and self-realization to being secular

11:52 PM  
Blogger Kumari said...

@Me: I agree but the recent discussions I had with a few of my friends made me realise they hardly knew anything about their own religion but they felt that one should be 'secular' just coz being Hindu was considered anti-secular. Which actually doesn't help anyone if you ask me.

11:34 AM  

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