Doha, Qatar: Written over the course of 15 years, in 11 successive waves, the autobiography of Iraqi critic Abdullah Ibrahim titled Amwaj, has been newly published by Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press.
The 600-page autobiography is a cultural and political reflection of Ibrahim, an Iraqi intellectual, that spans critical times of change from Kirkuk to Istanbul and finally, to Doha. His personal story is told amidst a background of a country crumbling under forces of tyranny, occupation, and civil war.
“Amwaj will surely reverberate with a large audience as the author and reader are inextricably linked through the universal experiences of forced emigration and deportation, sectarian identities, exile and the dull ache that comes with reminiscing over the past of what once was an idyllic homeland in better times,” explains Fakhri Saleh, Arabic Editor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press.
“This type of personal history, a voice from the region speaking about the region, is valuable in that it is a firsthand account of what is written in the history books,” Saleh explains. “HBKU Press is committed to providing the platform for these significant narratives to be acknowledged and heard.”
The autobiography begins with the story of a young Ibrahim, who was born and raised in Kirkuk to a family of farmers and landowners. The Kirkuk of his childhood was a picturesque place where the mosaic of people from many different places and religions lived together harmoniously and were neighbors in every sense of the word. But things changed with the start of the Iran-Iraq War when Ibrahim was conscripted into the Iraqi army to fight for Iraq. After the traumatic war, he left the country to escape the political tensions, ending up teaching Arabic Literature in Libya, then in Qatar, where he currently resides. Passing through these countries accentuated Ibrahim's memories of home, as did his sadness at each successive wave of violence that engulfed it and his memories.
“When an author publishes their work, of course they are pleased. But I am extremely pleased with the publication of Amwaj, as it has been my life’s work since 1976,” explains Ibrahim. “In this book, I have sought to reconcile my private life during a very public time in history when my country was going through an undoubtable period of tyranny. I share with the reader the experiences that I’ve gone through as a record in history and it is my hope that the prudent reader will quickly recognize the tone of racial, religious, sectarian and cultural bias throughout the biography. I count very much on my frank acknowledgment of mistakes and the desire to overcome them. One should not be ashamed of his mistakes but proud to leave them behind. "
Ibrahim is an Iraqi researcher and academic who holds a doctorate in Literary Criticism and Ancient Arabic Literature Studies from Baghdad University. He has worked at several universities in Iraq, Libya and Qatar and has participated in numerous conferences and literary seminars. Dr. Ibrahim specializes in studies of narrative, literary criticism and cross cultural dialogues and has more than 14 published books and 30 scientific papers published in leading trade magazines to his name.
Purchase your copy of Amwaj at aldanabooks.com.