A Review from My Porch
Love in a Torn Land might not be considered Summer reading fare, but then summer is on the down hill slide and it might do well for a Fall read. Written by Jean Sasson, Love in a Torn Land is the story of Joanna Al-Askari, an Iraqi Kurd who joined the Peshmergas—the Kurdish freedom fighters—in the 1980s because of her desire to fight the regime of Saddam Hussein. The book, although written by Sasson, tells the story in the first person which for me is sometimes off-putting, and tells Joanna’s story from a childhood in Baghdad to running for her life through the mountains to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war with her Peshmerga husband.
Sasson specializes in writing about women of the Middle East. Princess is the story of “Princess Sultana” (not her real name), a Saudi princess and her life as a wife and mother in a country in which women are little more than jewelry and the mothers of sons for men and where she has attempted to support a wider world for Saudi women. Sasson has written other books about Princess Sultana as well as one about Mayada, Daughter of Iraq.
Sasson’s books give a glimpse into the lives of women who live in the places that are not only in the news, but effect the politics and lives of Americans. Love in a Torn Land will give the reader insights into the Kurdish struggle against Hussein’s attempts to exterminate them and how the world turned a blind eye.
Anyone interested in the condition of women in the Middle East will find Sasson’s books most enlightening.