Iraq Through A Bullet Hole: A Civilian Returns Home , Issam Jameel
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   Iraq Through A Bullet Hole: A Civilian Returns Home - Price: $19.95    

by Issam Jameel, ISBN: 978-1-932690-70-5
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Iraqi playwright Issam Jameel returns to Iraq in 2005 after a 12-year exile. From the relative safety of Jordan, where he worked for an opposition radio station under the watchful eyes of Saddam's spies, he travels to Baghdad visit family and friends. He longs to see his mother country, but the immediate reason is to grieve his nephew's untimely death at the hands of American forces while guarding an Iraq parliament member from insurgent attacks. Jameel enters a Kafkaesque nightmare of assassinations, kidnapping, and explosions.

He sees the formerly secular civil society fairly well replaced by vehement sectarianism, intolerance, and ignorance. Everywhere he turns, people are desperate to leave but fear for the worst.

This is his story.
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Biography :

Issam Jameel was born in Baghdad in 1954. He obtained a bachelor's degree in theatrical arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1978. In 1980, he spent his compulsory army services working for Al-Qadesia, a daily newspaper of the Iraqi army. He ex-plored the amazing world of writing when he offered articles in theatrical criticism. After several years he became the dependable theatrical critic in Al-Thawra, the main official newspaper in Iraq during the years 1981-1985. His first book, which included two plays about war, had been published in 1983 by the main Iraqi governmental publishing house. His first play, The Memory of a Dead Man, had been directed by himself with an experimental theater belonging to a national theater group in Iraq. Three of his plays have been directed by Iraqi directors for the national theater group in Baghdad during 1985 to 1991, while two other plays have been directed by himself at the experimental theater in Baghdad in 1989 and 1993.

He continued his study for a Master's degree in theatrical studies to graduate in Baghdad in 1990. His thesis contained a sociological study about converting the Elizabethan symbols in A Midsummer Night's Dream to modern symbols, which materialized in the Iraqi understanding of the play.

Because of the severe limits of liberty in Iraq, he moved to Jordan where he found a permanent job at a radio station belonging to one of the Iraqi opposition groups against Saddam.

Because of the severe limits of liberty in Iraq, he moved to Jordan where he found a permanent job at a radio station belonging to one of the Iraqi opposition groups against Saddam.

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Book Review :

What would it be like to return to the home of your early years, only to find that a war has changed the face of almost everything as well as the quality of life of most of your extended family? Issam Jameel recounts this exact experience in his small, 198-page paperback called, "Iraq Through a Bullet Hole: A Civilian Returns Home." In this book he relates the sights, sounds and situations he encountered during his travel back into his home country, Iraq, in 2005, after having been away for twelve years.

In "Iraq Through a Bullet Hole," Jameel shows in a brutally honest fashion the deconstruction of the infrastructure in Baghdad since the fall of Saddam, as well as the splintering of once peaceful communities into hostile religious factions. He also gives a personal, eyewitness picture of the effect the new environment had on his kinfolk, especially how his nominally religious family had turned toward radical and strident forms of Islam as a way of giving meaning to their daily struggles. The anger and hurt that many of his relatives had comes through clearly. Disappointments, loss of security, fear, worry and empty future fill almost every page of Jameel's hard-hitting story.

The book really has no ending since the conflict in Iraq still continues until this day. The reader coming to the conclusion of the book will most likely be left with a sense that when an ending finally does arrive, it will probably be tragic. This ill foreboding seems to flow from the writers own saddened and troubled heart.

Though Jameel writes in English, it is quite obvious that this is his second language. And yet he communicates his story intelligibly for the average reader.

(Dr. Michael Philliber for Reader Views)

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