Monday, 2 July 2007

Nabeel's Song by Jo Tatchell

Nabeel's Song
Jo Tatchell
Sceptre €??

NABEEL YASIN is an Iraqi poet, now in exile for many years, whose smuggled poems are the songs of the resistance.

Nabeel's Song tracks Iraq from Nabeel's 1950s childhood up to the oppressive regime of the pan-Arab nationalist Ba'ath party.

Nabeel's brother was arrested and tortured for months in the national stadium with hundreds of other suspected communists.

His mother's house was regularly raided by different branches of police - once one group leaving met another arriving - and Nabeel's passport and papers were stamped 'Enemy of the State'.

As a poet who spoke out against the party - and particularly against ex-CIA assassin and Ba'ath puppetmaster Saddam Hussein - Nabeel was hated and hunted.

When his father fell off a roof and died, and Nabeel applied for a permit to bury him, the police accused him of murder.

After years on the run and a series of brutal beatings, he left Iraq in 1979. Two of his brothers were in jail, another, Tariq, who could normally talk his way out of any trouble, would be used as a human minesweeper before the Iraqi troops in the Iran-Iraq War.

Fascinating, horrible and impossible to stop reading, this should be read by anyone who thinks his own state couldn't become totalitarian.

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