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Barefoot in Baghdad

ISBN: 9781402237218

By: Manal Omar

Published: 08/01/2010

An intimate look at the heartrending struggle for freedom and identity in Iraq, from a female American Muslim aid worker who witnessed the chaos firsthand.

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Description

“Walk barefoot and the thorns will hurt you…” —Iraqi-Turkmen proverb A riveting story of hope and despair, of elation and longing, Barefoot in Baghdad takes you to the front lines of a different kind of battle, where the unsung freedom fighters are strong, vibrant—and female. An American aid worker of Arab descent, Manal Omar moves to Iraq to help as many women as she can rebuild their lives. She quickly finds herself drawn into the saga of a people determined to rise from the ashes of war and sanctions and rebuild their lives in the face of crushing chaos. This is a chronicle of Omar’s friendships with several Iraqis whose lives are crumbling before her eyes. It is a tale of love, as her relationship with one Iraqi man intensifies in a country in turmoil. And it is the heartrending stories of the women of Iraq, as they grapple with what it means to be female in a homeland you no longer recognize. "Manal Omar captures the complex reality of living and working in war-torn Iraq, a reality that tells the story of love and hope in the midst of bombs and explosions." —Zainab Salbi, founder and CEO of Women for Women International, and author (with Laurie Becklund) of the national bestselling book Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam "A fascinating, honest, and inspiring portrait of a women's rights activist in Iraq, struggling to help local women while exploring her own identity. Manal Omar is a skilled guide into Iraq, as she understands the region, speaks Arabic, and wears the veil. At turns funny and tragic, she carries a powerful message for women, and delivers it through beautiful storytelling." —Christina Asquith, author of Sisters in War: A Story of Love, Family and Survival in the New Iraq "At turns funny and tragic…a powerful message for women, [delivered] through beautiful storytelling." —Christina Asquith, author of Sisters in War

About the Author

Manal Omar

Manal Omar has worked with Women for Women International, a nonprofit NGO, as Regional Coordinator for Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan. Formerly a journalist, she began work in Iraq in 1997 and 1998 for UNESCO, and worked for OxFam in the Middle East. Currently, she is the Program Officer for the Iraq Grants Program with the United States Institute of Peace, based in Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Author Note xiii
Introduction xvii
Chapter One: The Opening 1
Chapter Two: Road Trip 15
Chapter Three: Breaking the Barriers 27
Chapter Four: Choosing Sides 35
Chapter Five: A Lot Hotter in Hell 45
Chapter Six: Hysteria of Hope 55
Chapter Seven: Eyes Wide Shut 69
Chapter Eight: A Place of Fantasies 89
Chapter Nine: Fern 103
Chapter Ten: The Negotiating Chips 113
Chapter Eleven: The Whistle-Blower 125
Chapter Twelve: Playing with Fire 137
Chapter Thirteen: Locked In 165
Chapter Fourteen: Four Men and a Lady 173
Chapter Fifteen: Breaking Point 203
Chapter Sixteen: Purple Thumbs Don’t Wash Off 213
Chapter Seventeen: Iraqi Brides 225
Epilogue: Dawn Approaches 233
Reading Group Guide 239
About the Author 243

Excerpt

Throughout my childhood I struggled to answer the simplest of questions: where are you from? I was born in Saudi Arabia to Palestinian parents who moved to Lubbock, Texas, when I was six months

...

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Reviews



“You may not be able to lay Barefoot in Baghdad down for a while. This book will capture your interest.” - South by Southwest

“We ga...

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Specs

Format: Paperback

Dimensions
Length: 9 in
Width: 6 in
Weight: 14.56 oz
Page Count: 272 pages

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