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Hell Is Over: Voices of the Kurds After Saddam, an Oral History
Synopses & Reviews
Long oppressed and cruelly treated, the Kurds are the world’s largest ethnic group without their own nation. Kurds, who today live in a mountainous area that extends over Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria, are a fiercely proud and culturally rich people whose history is indelibly marred by political machinations and betrayal.
Saddam Hussein and his Ba’athist party have brutally oppressed the Kurds of northern Iraq; his systematic attempts to annihilate them included mass murders, gassing of entire Kurdish villages, torture, imprisonment, rape, and bombings.
Justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq will likely be subject to worldwide debate for years to come, but one fact remains clear: the war had a moral component, to liberate millions from Saddam’s totalitarian rule. For the Kurds of northern Iraq, there is no ambivalence about American involvement. The war brought them one step closer to freedom.
Here is the first inside perspective on what it was like to endure the horrors of Saddam Hussein.
In Hell Is Over: Voices of the Kurds After Saddam, author Mike Tucker offers frank and evocative accounts of the Kurdish people, from veterans of the Kurdish uprising, the Revolution of 1961, to members of the peshmerga who helped U.S. forces quickly take key northern cities. Hell Is Over is a testimony to the anguish of political prisoners, survivors of chemical attacks, and victims of torture. Tucker also offers readers the unbridled joy and optimism of Kurdish artists and poets and of old warriors who now look forward to putting down the guns they’ve carried for decades.
Hell Is Over is the moving narrative of a long-suffering nation, chillingly told one precious individual at a time.
"As counterfactual as it may seem to claim that 'hell is over' anywhere in Iraq, Tucker makes the case for the Kurds. Drawing on interviews with peshmergafighters, Saddam-era political prisoners and survivors, Kurdish politicians and others who celebrate the overthrow of a Ba'athist regime that was particularly murderous toward Iraqi Kurds, Tucker gives his subjects space to tell of massacres at places like Hatra and of armed resistance to — and daily hardship under — Ba'athist repression. Tucker's Kurds express deep thanks to America for ousting Saddam, but also recall betrayal — 'Kissinger's betrayal' in 1975 and that of George H.W. Bush in 1991 — when the U.S. found it expedient to allow Iraq a free hand to crush Kurdish resistance. 'The Kurds are looking for U.S. actions... which prove that America's honor is real,' he writes, and for Tucker, a former Marine, 'honor' and other aspects of warrior culture trump messier geopolitical considerations; he is convinced that the key to U.S. success in Iraq lies in recognition of 'Kurdish integrity, honor and culture,' along with close military and political cooperation with Iraqi Kurds. As a record of oppression, this book will find a place among emerging Saddam-era testimonies, but its bald political advocacy offers little that's unfamiliar." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Shortly before he accompanied the US Army in Iraq, war correspondent Tucker traveled through Iraqi Kurdistan interviewing Kurds from all walks of life. He has edited the interviews into narratives of them talking about the activities of the peshmurga militia, surviving massacres under Saddam, the future of the Kurds, and other topics.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
For years the Kurdish people were subjected to torture, imprisonment, rape, mass murders, gassings, and bombings, as Saddam Hussein and his Ba'athist Party attempted to annihilate them. As Saddam comes to trial, this book provides the first inside perspective on what it was like to endure these horrors.
As Saddam Hussein goes to trial, a chilling testimony to his unrelenting brutality.
About the Author
Mike Tucker is a Marine infantry veteran and author. In 2003 he journeyed throughout Iraqi Kurdistan interviewing Kurds from all walks of life; he remained in-country for nearly fourteen months. His account of actions with US Army troops and Special Forces in Mosul and Fallujah, AMONG WARRIORS IN IRAQ, was published by the Lyons Press in April 2005. He is presently in Afghanistan as an embedded author, with American paratroopers and Special Forces, from April 2005-April 2006
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