By Sanskriti Singh
Each time I read the works of Jean Sasson, I’m awe stricken. The way she narrates the atrocities on women is splendid. I always find her books fascinating and touching. The stories she says have an enchanting aura that none can ever forget. Desert Royal was the first book I red written by her and that’s the magic she has in her pen that the more I read her works I feel like having more of her books. The supressing world of deserts will bring each who reads the story to tears. Not only fascinating its heart wreaking that a part of world suffers endlessly and we don’t believe their words. Jean Sasson has written endlessly in the genre of human rights but what’s appealing? That’s what people ask. So her work abides writers because it’s all true, said by the native women living the hell of being crushed by men and the hopeless government.
Love in a Torn Land is a story of struggle of Joanna, for freedom and love. In 1987 Saddam Hussein got Joanna’s village bombarded by chemical explosives that made her flea from the place. But there’s not only this to this story. There’s a lot more here in this novel. Concentration of power in the hands of a corrupt government that waged a war against its own people, the kurds living in Iraq suffer endlessly under Saddam’s rule. A highly corrupt government that has no rules and none to abide even one, along with a male dominating society where women are suppressed every time they try to rise their heads, and a population of people fighting against each other is the definition of this country.
Joanna was a girl from an Arab father and a Kurd mother. She lives a life of slight poverty as her father is deaf and dumb and his furniture factory shut down due to a war. The youngest child of a home with loving parents and lovely siblings who truly love her and admire her, and brothers who are much different from the other male population of the country she is surrounded with love and care. A lost life that has no surety of being alive, she faces a bombardment each day in her country witnessing war each day. Her whole childhood is full of the sounds of exploding bombs and fired bullets. After this she falls in love with a freedom fighter who was fighting for the freedom of Kurds. Her love has no directions till her to-be husband proposes her to marry him.
Do not declare your war on me
In this case
I am a weary stranger in this town
Do not torture me
From there afar, thousands are persecuting me
Stay with me and make me happy
Fi only have your eyes to make me happy…………………….
These are few lines of his many poems sent to Joanna as his proposal to marry him and make him alive. The words of the whole novel attracts a reader towards it, beautiful in content it makes you read it with all your heart and makes you believe in the power that love professes.
When I was a child I built a wall of hatred around me
When I was asked ‘from what did you build this wall?’
I replied ‘From the stones of insults’
This story is about Joanna Al-Askari who had dared to love in a land torn apart by ‘people of repute’ and burnished by the endless and unfruitful war that were fought each day in the land that could have been a land full of history and heritage. Her quest for freedom and her war against her own limitations and fears are heart touching that really appeals for your tears. A mind enthralling story………….. for all who want to know the pains of the people in the country. This is a very human look at the struggle of Kurds in Iraq and one women’s heroism, temporally blinded by the chemical attack and rescued by her Kurdish husband. Shocking, candid…… sad, sobering and absolutely riveting this is what that can be said about this book. I cherish the moments I spent reading this beautiful life story of Joanna Al-Askari and I admire my collection of books having the book Love in A Torn Land.
Review of “Love in a Torn Land” book by Jean Sasson