"Mayada, Daughter of Iraq"

Jean Sasson, the author of  “Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia,” has empowered and devastated me with her newest book, the title of which is in the subject of this update.  The book is about a young mother, named Mayada, who is captured after false allegations against her printing company come to light,  in Iraq (under the rule of Saddam Hussein).  It tells of her encounters with torture and a lovely, beautiful group of women in cell 52 of a torture prison.  She gets pretty gruesome about what is happening to many of the prisoners, and the stories of the wonderful women who are unfortunately tortured daily in this prison.

If anyone is concerned AT ALL about knowing more about Iraqi life under the rule of Saddam Hussein or wants to know a bit of history about Iraq and really understand a bit more of what the people were going through, you should definitely read this book.  ESPECIALLY, if you are into women empowerment because this book is about some unbelievably strong women.

I just wanted to write a little bit about how much this book has changed my view of the Iraq war, terrorism, torture, history etc.  I know you can’t believe everything you read, but this women’s non-fiction account of her stay in a torture prison is truly inspiring and will make any person Thank God for the minuscule, or even large-scale problems they are suffering.   It may not seem uplifting to read about torture, but the hope in the shadow woman seen throughout this book, and the strength they share, makes this book one of the best non-fiction pieces I have read. (If you know me, you know I’m obsessed with Jon Kraukner and every book that man writes is like a little gift from heaven for me, but Mayada ranks up there).

Anyway. At the end of the book she gives a little image of every country surrounding Iraq, and Iraq itself.  So I’d like to share a bit about the differences in the USA and a few of these countries.

IRAQ (2003)

Government: Preparing for democracy

Population: 24,000,000

Area: 168,760 square miles

Language: Arabic, Armenian, Assyrian, Kurdish

Religion: Muslim 95% (Shiite 60%, Sunni 35%), Christian 5%

Life Expectancy: 58 years

Literacy: 60%

USA (2010)

Government: Democracy

Population: 310,232,863

Languages: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)

Religions: Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 records)

Life Expectancy: 78.24 years

Literacy: 99% (I’m not really sure this is accurate, even though this is what it says on the website, it seems a bit too high).

I just posted this to make the subtle (and not so subtle) comparisons between the two countries.  If anyone wants to teach a kid to read in NC, the NC Literacy society and the Wake County Courthouse have created a system for kids to go after school, 2 days a week, for 2 hours each and be taught to read.  Volunteers have to be able to spend 6 months with the individuals wanting to learn, and it’s a great volunteering experience that you can clearly see the results from…especially when that child or even adult opens a book and reads it alone.  I would really love to volunteer to do this on my return from Australia and want to encourage others to do the same.  Every little book helps with education. (Yes, even “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”).

….I also usually don’t get this political or preachy ever. I just like books. And I REALLY liked this one.

My information came from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html, if anyone wanted to go check it all out.

Great book if you're into finding out more about Iraq

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