10 Jan 2013
The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles - review
This book, a first effort by Lebanese journalist, Hala Jaber, tells of some of the horrific consequences of the Iraq war.It tells of the determined efforts of childless journalist Hala who was covering the war with her photographer husband when she was told of the sad case of a child Zahra, badly wounded in a misile attack and her efforts to save the child. The child Zahra had suddenly become an orphan as almost all her family died in the burning taxi - her six year old brother, her teenage sister, her parents and her grandmother. The only members of the family that survived were Zahra (3 years) and her baby sister Hawra, just a few months old, both of whom were thrown out of the burning taxi by their mother knowing she herself could not be saved and hoping that her two youngest might yet survive.
It is a painful reminder of what 'collateral damage' really means and what it costs to human lives. Jaber tells the story of her hunt for the orphaned children through her research and visits to so many hospitals across Iraq and of her experiences while looking for Zahra. It is a picture of war and devastation told in an objective yet compelling voice. When at last she finds the children, however, it is too late to save them but Hala Jaber moves on, using her experience and knowledge to save other victims of war. Childless Jaber maybe, but in these harrowing accounts of Iraq's war with America, she shows us that motherhood does not only mean having and giving birth to children and that there are other ways to be a mother.
I would vote for this book and give it a 4 star rating. Some incidents may be a bit too harrowing for some readers but it is well written in journalistic style. Hala Jaber is a well known war correspondent and has been named Foreign Correspondent of the Year twice at the British Press Awards. Today she lives and works in Beirut and still chases after war stories.