Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity-My Own and What It Means to Be a Woman in Chaos

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Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity-My Own and What It Means to Be a Woman in Chaos

by Manal Omar

Sourcebooks | October 3, 2013 | Trade Paperback

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This poignant memoir tells a riveting story of hope and despair, of freedom and longing. As an American aid worker of Arab descent, Manal Omar''s background gave her an all-access pass to the dramatic shift in the fortunes of Iraq''s women following the invasion in 2003, which destroyed hopes for a more liberated lifestyle. Witness to a struggle that few outsiders saw, Omar chronicles the journey of a people determined to rise from the ashes of war and sanctions and recreate themselves in the face of overwhelming obstacles. This is the story of her friendships with those whose lives were crumbling before her eyes. It is a tale of love, as her relationship with one Iraqi man intensified in a country in turmoil. And it is the stories of the women of Iraq, as they grapple with what it means to be female in a homeland you no longer recognize.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 3.54 × 2.36 × 0.27 in

Published: October 3, 2013

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1402237219

ISBN - 13: 9781402237218

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– More About This Product –

Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity-My Own and What It Means to Be a Woman in Chaos

by Manal Omar

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 3.54 × 2.36 × 0.27 in

Published: October 3, 2013

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1402237219

ISBN - 13: 9781402237218

About the Book

An intimate look at the heartrending struggle for freedom and identity in Iraq, from a female American Muslim aid worker who witnessed the chaos firsthand

Read from the Book

She was hiding. Then again, everyone seemed to be hiding. It was October of 2003, eight months into the United States'' invasion of Iraq.

But she was practically a child. And her enemy proved to be more insidious ? and heartbreaking ? than the ones we read about and saw on television.

Getting to her was my first hurdle. That meant having to clear the checkpoint, one of thousands erected throughout Baghdad. These makeshift sites were thrown together like a neighbourhood potluck ? except instead of franks and beans, it was a sombre medley of military sandbags, Iraqi and American police and machine guns.

One of the police officers stood to give me the third degree. Who was I? What did I want? My veil did nothing to assuage his concerns. After all, Baghdad was teeming with American journalists and aid workers who wore the veil out of respect for local customs. He had no reason to believe that I was Muslim just because I said so.

Having to prove myself was nothing new to me. I was a Muslim-American, an oxymoron according to some. Back at home, I''d grown accustomed to pledging my allegiance louder and more often than my peers. But affirming my allegiance to Islam? This was a first.

The police officer leaned forward and demanded that I recite the first chapter of the Quran, something Muslims recited five times a day during prayer. It was like asking a Christian to say the Lord''s Prayer.

I closed my eyes and within minutes, the words came spilling out.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Author Note xiii
Introduction xvii
Chapter One: The Opening 1
Chapter Two: Road Trip 15
Chapter Three: Breaking the Barriers 27
Chapter Four: Choosing Sides 35
Chapter Five: A Lot Hotter in Hell 45
Chapter Six: Hysteria of Hope 55
Chapter Seven: Eyes Wide Shut 69
Chapter Eight: A Place of Fantasies 89
Chapter Nine: Fern 103
Chapter Ten: The Negotiating Chips 113
Chapter Eleven: The Whistle-Blower 125
Chapter Twelve: Playing with Fire 137
Chapter Thirteen: Locked In 165
Chapter Fourteen: Four Men and a Lady 173
Chapter Fifteen: Breaking Point 203
Chapter Sixteen: Purple Thumbs Don''t Wash Off 213
Chapter Seventeen: Iraqi Brides 225
Epilogue: Dawn Approaches 233
Reading Group Guide 239
About the Author 243

From the Publisher

This poignant memoir tells a riveting story of hope and despair, of freedom and longing. As an American aid worker of Arab descent, Manal Omar''s background gave her an all-access pass to the dramatic shift in the fortunes of Iraq''s women following the invasion in 2003, which destroyed hopes for a more liberated lifestyle. Witness to a struggle that few outsiders saw, Omar chronicles the journey of a people determined to rise from the ashes of war and sanctions and recreate themselves in the face of overwhelming obstacles. This is the story of her friendships with those whose lives were crumbling before her eyes. It is a tale of love, as her relationship with one Iraqi man intensified in a country in turmoil. And it is the stories of the women of Iraq, as they grapple with what it means to be female in a homeland you no longer recognize.

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