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My Father's Rifle: A Childhood In Kurdistan

by Hiner Saleem
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
  • Publishing date: 10/02/2005
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9781843543121
  • ISBN: 1843543125

Synopsis

My Father's Rifle is a beautiful narrative about the life of boy named Azad and his coming-of-age in Iraq during the 1960s and 1970s. Azad is born into a vibrant village culture, to a family that is proud of its Kurdish past. He loves his mother's orchard, his cousin's stunt pigeons, his father's old Czech rifle, and his brother who is away fighting in the mountains. But before he is even of school age, Azad has experienced strafing and bombing, he watches as friends and neighbours are assassinated and he sees his father humiliated when he tried to get food for his starving family. Forced into a refugee camp in Iran for years, the family returns to find Saddam Hussein in power, and destroying the autonomy he had promised their people. In a burst of adolescent rebellion, Azad briefly runs away to the mountains to join his brother in the fight for Kurdish liberty. But Azad returns, sensing he must find his own way to advance the Kurdish cause. He realizes that in order to achieve his dreams of becoming a filmmaker, he must flee to Syria and leave behind the family and land he loves so much.

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  • Memoir of a boyhood in Kurdistan...
    From Amazon

    This short memoir, with its simply told and clearly translated story, tells of a boyhood in Kurdistan, a nation of people divided between four countries: Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. The struggle for nationhood and freedom from oppression is told through the point of view of a boy growing into manhood. For readers who take national self-determination for granted, this account will illuminate what millions of refugees and politically disenfranchised peoples around the world experience every day of their lives. Far from being a political polemic, however, the struggle for freedom is portrayed in the simple desires of a growing boy - to have a safe home among family and friends, in a stable community, where there are many paths to a productive and satisfying adulthood. As we follow the misfortunes of this boy's family, we are witness to the humiliations and perils of living as a despised minority, terrorized and demoralized by a hostile government. There is bravery and courage in the midst of confusion, fear, sorrow, and regret in this excellent story, and it is a portrayal of patriotism well worth reading.

  • Engaging and moving story about the struggle for freedom of the dispossessed Kurds.
    From Amazon

    This novelette tells the story of Azad, A Kurdish boy living in Iraqi occupied Kurdistan, as the lands of the Kurds are seized and their culture destroyed. In 1968, eight year old Azad lives in a small village in Iraqi occupied Kurdistan. He climbs onto rooftops and watches his cousin's homing pigeons eating the juicy pomegranates in his mother's garden. He swims naked with his friends and brothers in the streams near the village and enjoys the occasional treat of biscuits from the village store. He watches his uncle's television- the first in his village- but he wonders why there all the shows are in Arabic and their are no Kurds on TV. Azad's tranquil village life is shattered after the Baathist coup of of 1968 which sweeps Ahmed Hassan Al Bakr and Saddam Hussein to power as the new regime begins a campaign of genocidal repression against the Kurds. Azad's cousin Mamou is hunted down and killed by Iraqi troops and his family flee to a nearby cave where they are, among thousands of Kurds, bombarded by napalm from Iraqi planes. The family returns home to find their home razed and their and their orchard destroyed. Azad's father and brothers, with meager arms and supplies join the resistance but Azad and his family are captured and together with hundreds of thousands of Kurds swept into refugee camps. Azad's small niece dies froma respiratory illness after being refused treatment by the Arab doctor at the local hospital. Azad eventually leaves Kurdistan for exile in Europe. Many of the family he has left behind are to die in the poison gas attacks ordered by Saddam , or in Iraqi run concentration camps. This is an engaging and moving story about the struggle for freedom of the dispossessed Kurds. It is a story of a people whose plight has been ignored by the media, and opinion makers. The Kurds have not had courses taught about their plight and history at universities. They are not backed by powerful lobbies and pressure groups across the world- as the "Palestinians" are- their have never been any international conferences to highlight their plight, and the opression and genocide of the Kurds by Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. has never occupied any time at the United Nations.

  • Good Book!
    From Amazon

    Fairly simple read. I could relate to this book quite a bit due to the fact that I am a Kurd. Could have been a little longer but still a fun read.

  • good but not great
    From Amazon

    Somewhat interesting, easy reading, an insight into Kurdistan, but perhaps a bit simplistic.

  • Wonderful Story
    From Amazon

    Well written story about the Kurdish situation as seen through the eyes of a young boy as he becomes a man.

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