We often think of Iraq and generalize the public on the view that we have of the government. This summer, I had the chance to read a very interesting account of a lady’s life who represents majority of the Iraqi population and her experiences with government under Saddam Hussein. Mayada, by Jean Sasson, is one of the books that gives you the feel of being in the shoes of the main character and this is complemented by the fact that this story is 100% true.
Jean Sasson, having travelled a lot of the world, made a trip to see Iraq and Iraqi life with her own eyes. She spent time in children’s leukemia wards and had the chance of seeing Iraq from the point of view of the general population instead of the sight travellers get from a massive hotels windows.
It is there that she met Mayada Al Aksari, the daughter of one of the most influential families in Iraq who, later, found herself suffering in torture cells set up by Saddam… The details of the days she spent with other innocent people facing pain and the fear of death each day and the tale of their endurance brings tears in the eyes of all readers. I believe that this book is a must read for all of us and thanks to Jean Sasson and Mayada’s friendship and sisterhood, it gives us a chance to feel a fraction of the pain Mayada felt and to bring close to our hearts the stories of many who suffered by the hands of a tyrant.
It brings us back to the oldest and the most important lesson - Faith leads a long way, even in the face of death… Hope creeps into the walls of the darkest cells flooded with hopelessness and love pulls even the most broken person back towards life.