Iraq Through a Bullet Hole: A Civilian Wikileaks
Modern History Press (2011)
Reviewed by for Reader Views (11/10)
Iraqi playwright Issam Jameel left Iraq in 1994 to work in Jordan during the regime of Saddam Hussein. He took a job with the Almoustakbale radio station owned by one of the Iraqi opposition groups. This choice labeled him and left him in exile. During his stay in Jordan he converted to Christianity. In 2002 he left Jordan to relocate in Australia, where he resides today. “Iraq Though a Bullet Hole” is his unique account of a two-month return for a family visit to Iraq beginning in July of 2005.
Jameel describes his country as shattered by war, made up of a people traumatized by fear, and a government ruled by intimidation, violence, and intolerance, bent on preventing political reconciliation. His visit to Iraq was an effort to provide comfort to a brother and his family whose son was killed by American forces while guarding an Iraq parliament member. He details his day-to-day activities as he exchanged the comparative safety of Jordan for the uncertainty and hazards of Baghdad.
I enjoyed the insights into the concerns of various family members for Issam and his safety welfare. The ongoing dialog with Sami regarding Islamic faith and his concern for Issam’s conversion to Christianity provided an interesting slant on the teachings of the Qur’an,
Maps and photos provided in the appendix add another dimension to the narrative, revealing the devastation, congestion, and culture of central Baghdad, its suburbs, traditional houses, and modern structures. He describes the basic hardships such as food, water, and power. He discusses the difficulty in getting a job and selling real estate in light of the hostile religious factions, ethnic splinter groups, and radical political blocs and their on-going struggle for power.
Jameel gives a fair and honest look at U. S. Involvement in Iraq. His writing is stimulating, authentic, and revealing. “Iraq Through a Bullet Hole” is a powerful and relevant account.