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Dreaming of Baghdad

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  49 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
“Deftly sketched, simple and poetic, Dreaming of Baghdad drags politics down from the realm of the abstract into the mud, fear, and loneliness of personal experience and psychological ruin that is life under dictatorship. This is a landscape of clandestine struggle and crushing political defeat, of familiar old streets and the alienating structures of exile. Zangana’s stor ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published August 1st 2009)
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Dec 22, 2013 Jo rated it really liked it
I think all of our political leaders - globally - should be forced to read this book. It's an intense anti-torture memoir. Immediately from page one, I felt like this book captured me, threw me on a train, and forced me to undertake a fascinating, terrifying, and deeply sad journey, with release only at the end. The entire experience was gripping; all throughout, I felt as if I was being constantly dipped into the trenches of the psychology of the tortured. It's not pretty, but it's important to ...more
Jan 26, 2010 Joan rated it it was amazing
A good piece of writing that shows the humanity of the war. I admit, I didn't know much about what's happening over there, and this work really humanized for me. It sounds awful to think that I didn't think of the Iraqis as humans, but in some ways I guess I didn't. So what did I think of them? I guess I kind of pitied them, but did I think of them as lesser than me too? I don't know, but I guess it's eye opening to think that sometimes I don't think of humans as humans. I think of them more as ...more
Jun 13, 2016 Brin rated it it was amazing
This book took me what felt like a long time to finish, though it is short in length. I think the subject matter might have played a part in the time it took me to finish, in addition to the fact that I am completely clueless when it comes to Middle Eastern affairs. I have made it a point to become more educated on the Middle East and this book has helped. I grew up during many of the poignant events that shaped the Middle East into what it is now, but as a safeguarded American I know nothing of ...more
Jul 18, 2016 Nadia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I didn't really know what to expect for a book I'd never heard anybody talk about-I think most people know Haifa Zangana as an activist and not a writer-but this is one of the best books I read in the last year. Really touching stories about ba'th regime oppression as experienced by women activists specifically.

I should probably just make an Iraq shelf I have more than enough books to put on it.
Reality Visions
Sep 04, 2014 Reality Visions rated it it was amazing
Originally published as "Through the Vast Halls of Memory," in 1990 "Dreaming of Baghdad" is a 2009 Feminist Press (CUNY) reprint of Kurdish-Iraqi activist Haifa Zangana's haunting memories of her 1970s activism and imprisonment under the Ba'ath party. Zangana's narrative shifts in time, place, and subjectivity, resulting in an illuminating/troubling remark on the nature of trauma and memory.
Jun 13, 2016 Aaron rated it liked it
As the afterword to this book notes, this is an unusual book. It was written as someone remembers events -- haphazardly and in a funny order. There were some poignant parts of the book, yet overall I wasn't sure that the idea of writing a book as someone who remembers is actually that useful a exercise in prose production.

Mar 22, 2013 Sukanto rated it liked it
It's never easy to read first hand accounts of torture and the pain associated with war. But it's also necessary at times to embrace reality like this, in order to understand how hate spreads its tentacles. This is a touching narration by Haifa Zangana.
Dec 27, 2014 Guneet rated it really liked it
Imprisoned at Abu Ghraib, tortured, beaten and self-exiled, the protagonist lives in London, trying to push off memories of torture through sleeping pills.
Nice read.
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Mar 08, 2010
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Feminist Press rated it it was amazing
Sep 20, 2009
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Feb 13, 2013 Abhilash Bala rated it really liked it
Short and ironically written. Not a page turner, yet the struggle is described neat.
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“The prism of time refracts the light into thousands of rays. I stand with my hands open and embrace them. p. 94” 0 likes
“Writing about memories is an elusive process. It often begins with a good intention: to convey the truth. What happens in reality is that we only write down what passes through the censors' eyes. The censors here are the ambient time and space, social and political conditions, and the psychological changers the writer herself. What one writes now is certainly not what actually happened. It is but a vague indicator of what might have happened, a mixture of illusive and contracted images, a dream, or an act conditioned by either a denial or a desire to see past events shaped by what is yearned for in the present. p. 153” 0 likes
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