ihath's book

In the book One Thousand and One Nights(Arabian Nights). Scheherazade has to tell stories in order to survive. She tells such interesting and compelling stories that King Schehrayar can’t help but let her live one more night and then another and then another. After a thousand and one nights, he gets attached and forgets his murderous desire. By salvaging her own life with stories, Scheherazade in turn liberates Schehrayar’s heart from its darkness.

The medieval literary epic inspired Iraqi Canadian author, Elen Ghulam to publish “Don’t Shoot! … I have another story to tell you“. As war and terrorism rage, so grows the antagonism between the Middle East and the West. People are seeking insights into the dark heart of this spiral of violence. “Don’t Shoot! . . . I have another story to tell you” is the personal journey of a Czech-born Iraqi woman who walks the tightrope between East and West. The book is an unconventional, funny and often moving voyage of uncovering, discovering and discarding of identity. It is a book about undoing childhood conditioning, understanding the past, and telling new stories in order to embrace the future. Through these tales of transformation, the book encourages the reader to grow attached to and come to understand the Middle East’s many contradictions.
“Don’t Shoot! … I have another story to tell you” is a collection of stories, each stands alone, yet is part of a tapestry of real-life tales from the heart of the conflict. Watching a Palestinian man get shot in the chest during a house demolition in east Jerusalem forces reconciliation with the world and coming to terms with apathy about world events. Yearly trips from the Middle East to the Czech Republic lead to an identity transformation – from being the lightest-skinned in the crowd to the darkest. The haunting specter of Saddam Hussein imposes harsh realities on daily life.

The stories arise from the author’s life and experiences. At age nineteen Elen emigrated to Canada, where for the very first time she was able to read censored Arab authors, leading to a new understanding of her country of origin. Later she married a Palestinian professor and together they lived in Scotland and Israel. In Israel, she learned Hebrew, worked for an Israeli company and experienced the military occupation of Palestine first hand – albeit from a perspective within Israeli society. Elen takes an Israeli friend to visit Palestinian East Jerusalem and the West Bank for the first time in her life, and later takes a Palestinian friend to visit Israeli West Jerusalem for her very first time. Living between two worlds, yet again, and being forced to act as the bridge.

“Don’t Shoot! … I have another story to tell you” draws from the author’s experience of the many facets of Arab, European, North American and Israeli society to portray life in the conflict zone. The book is a creative non-fiction account in the tradition of Rian Malan’s My Traitor’s Heart: a South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience or Carol Shield’s (et al) Dropped Threads. Much as My Traitor’s Heart attempts to illuminate Apartheid South Africa’s poisonous race relations through Rian Malan’s personal journey, “Don’t Shoot! … I have another story to tell you” attempts to shed light on the poisonous clash between the Middle East and the Western world through an honest portrayal of an individual journey. Much as Dropped Threads is an examination of the secrets women keep, “Don’t Shoot! … I have another story to tell you” is Dropped Threads with the common thread of a single woman. The stories revolve around the secrets we keep in the Middle East.
In addition to English, Elen Ghulam speaks Arabic, Czech and Hebrew. She works as a computer programmer and has earned a B.Sc. in computer science in 1991. Elen’s radio documentary about living in Israel entitled “A Very Reasonable Moment,” was broadcast on CBC Radio1 across the Canada and parts of the US (December 13, 2002). The story it tells forms part of the book. She has published related articles in Maclean’s magazine, Adbusters magazine, Geist Magazine, The Tyee magazine, and other publications. The blog she runs at www.ihath.com has been featured as a “Pick of the Week” by the U.K. Guardian and has been named as one of the top ten Canadian blogs on BlogsCanada.ca. The blog receives an average of 4,000 unique hits per day. The overwhelmingly positive response from readers of the blog has served as a catalyst for writing this book.

King Schehrayar started as a loving husband. One day after a hunting trip, he came home to find his wife in bed with another man. In a fit of rage he kills his wife and declares war on all women. He marries frequently only to kill the bride the morning after the wedding night. His heart is safely sealed behind a security barrier that no feminine intrusion can breach. The mother of all sex battles rages until he encounters the wise and enchanting Scheherazade. That is how the story goes.

Sometimes the keyboard is mightier than a cruise missile.

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