Warning: Book review about killing, genocide and nothing found in our beautiful lies of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.


I was amazed to have read a book known as Love in a Torn Land by Jean Sasson.

Which the detailed description on first few chapters has left me nightmares and delayed the reading until 1 year later.

It is a tale telling of the real life experience of a Kurdish girl born in Iraq at the time the country was ruled by ruthless Saddam Hussein. The Baathist party led by Saddam hated the Kurds, and executed merciless restrictions, arrest, genocide onto the innocent civilians. For their only crime was their race.

The writer, Jean Sasson is a British and she penned Joanna’s story through interviewing her. Joanna displayed great courage, optimism in good hope for survival, fight and peace. Simultaneously her undying love for family, Kurdistan and her heroic husband.

In a 3 days indulged reading of 400 pages, I found myself vividly living the horrors of Joanna, the teller of her memories whom how her relatives suffered in the prison and torments, how she as a young girl had longed to live the life of Kurdistan freedom fighters known as Pershmega to liberate themselves from the insane genocide. It was similar to the Jewish escape from the Nazis. Just less famous and on smaller scale. Still cruel.

Seeing her brothers and her kind suffered, she then married a freedom fighter of her dream and started the struggle with him. Running for lives from bombing, chemical attacks, surviving on scarce resources, had a miscarriage due to the harsh condition.

To many like her who were on the same land, they  had not been lucky enough to live to tell the tale. I am not going to elaborate on the craziness Baathist has done onto the poor Kurds unless being asked. Such acts are beyond my acceptance on human rights and merely, pain, hunger, disabilities, despair, more pain and eventually death in the most unimaginable ways.

Do not be afraid.

Indeed. This is not a fairy tale of beautiful beaches and sunshine.

It is how insane a person can go in brutalizing the life of another human being, I mean another thousands.

Perhaps just because of the hatred implanted onto another race, and lack of understanding.

The story ended with the refugee sought by Joanna and her husband at England, and a victory against Saddam by the Kurds, in 2007.

But after checking the news I know now that peace for the Kurds did not last long. As stupid Daesh(ISIS) expands its military rage on northen Iraq, forcing the Kurdish fighters-Pershmega no choice but to fight against this multibillion well-resourced terrorists with their limited weapons.

If you did not expected this and do not know how to process this shock, keep reading. (so that you become numb.. haha.)


The first time I experienced such anger or hate onto war was when I heard about the merciless of Japanese when they invaded China and Malaysia. I learnt those at the age of 6, gradually listen as mother told me granny’s childhood, seeing piles of bodies behind the current Gama shopping mall after bombing, and how she used to play with her friends near the Japanese army camp so that the unguarded Japanese soldiers gave them some salt and other little groceries to bring home. How my grandfather starved in the midst of Bukit Kepong, Johor’s forests. In Nanjing, men and women was tired onto wires in hundreds and burnt to death. (Yup, I told you to keep reading.) I am thankful that they survived, yet filled with a constant hate towards the Japanese and wondering why nobody has launched a revenge or at least boycott onto Japanese products, and anime. Then, more stories come to my conscious growing mind.

I watched The Pianist. This is a movie about the time in World War II where a Jewish pianist who had been sent to concentration camps, and his struggle to escape. I moved by the heart touching moments and the art in shooting this movie. At the end of crying and laughing, I was terrified.

At the age of 14, I could not process the image of such cruelty, nor accepting the reality happened that contradicts so much from the beautiful world that I am living in. I told myself, this is absurd!

Two years later brother passed me the Diary of Anne Frank. A diary of a young girl at my age who were hiding in the attic with her family during the Holocaust.

Thanks to my mother, and brother. I now have a good insight and awareness on the poor civilians during war and inequality.

As I grew, I read about the Taliban, Rohingya, Indonesian Chinese Genocide, and then the Middle East. And changed my perspective from negative to better.

Do not be afraid.

There is hope for change.

For we were taught in our culture that a genuinely kind person do not need to be on top or afflicted to forces. Do good and good will come to you.

That is a lie. Do good, and be strong, because evil doesn’t select his victim. One day, you have to be tough enough to defend yourself, you love ones or just merely for justice. In this world, the strongest survive and rule. Whoever rich and powerful sets the rules.

And most important, yet absurdly. Be nice to the bad, for their lack of experience onto affection and kindness shaped their inner demons.

There are reason bad people becomes bad. Superstitious people including my respected forensic lecturer told me it’s born in blood. I ought not to resolve in such hasty conclusion and to identify the cause and uproot it. For if not we will have endless business fighting against them, or sitting comfortably in our serenity reading news about Daesh(ISIS). Feeling lucky it’s not us.


Thank you for reading. =)


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