Tara Chevrestt's Reviews > Betrayed: Escape from Iraq

Betrayed by Latifa Ali
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Oct 26, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction, memoir, iraq
Read in October, 2009

I don't know what is more tragic about this story, the situation Latifa found herself in, or the fact that her family put her in the situation. This is the memoir of a woman that was hurt by the ones she trusted the most: her parents.

At the age of two, Latifa's father is on Saddam's "hit list" and he takes his wife, Latifa, and Latifa's baby brother across the mountains. They find refuge in Australia and Latifa leads a "normal" life.. She attends school, meets boys at the library, wears a bikini. When in her teen years, Latifa's mom decides to move her kids and herself to Germany and things start going sour. Though she preaches the Kurdistan way of life and aides the Kurdistan people, Latifa's mother is not practicing what she preaches. She has affairs, gets a divorce, wears sexy lingerie, works, and has no intention of living in her homeland again. Then she does something funny. I don't mean funny ha ha but funny as in "something stinks real bad about this." She coerces her daughter, Latifa to go to Iraq to visit a dying relative that isn't dying at all and leaves her daughter there with no passport or way of communicating with the outside world.

Her father, now living in Kurdistand again, beats her and forces her to submit to the muslim way of life in all things. She is also going to have to marry a man of his choice and when everyone finds out she is no longer a virgin (she was raped by a cousin in Germany) she will be subject to an honor killing. Latifa's father's behavior towards her leaves no doubt that he will follow thru. While suffering abuse at home and hiding behind a veil, Latifa is permitted for a brief period to work at a construction company. In hopes of attaining freedom and a ticket back to Australia, Latifa does spy work. This was kind of exciting as she learns to shoot and drive a car. (Women are not allowed to drive cars there.) She has an affair with a British man. Her attempts at escape all go wrong, however, and result in many beatings.

Will she ever make it back to Australia?? A health problem could be her ticket out. Or will her lover, David, finally come to her rescue? Will the American troops invading have something to do with it?

A tragic tale, very well told and caused my heart to pound at moments. Not only is Latifa betrayed by her parents, but later, her entire family because her escape will cut her off from them forever.


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Reading Progress

10/28/2009 page 115
44.92% "I don't know what is more traumatic.. What is happening to this woman or the fact that her own mother put her in the situation."

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Janet (new) - added it

Janet I hope you get some insight as to why the mother has done what she has done. Every sense you told me about it I have been wondering why and how a mother can do that.


message 2: by Janet (new) - added it

Janet Very good review Tara. I am very curious as what happens.


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