Barbara Nimri Aziz’s new book: Swimming up the Tigris: Real Life Encounters with Iraq

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“Swimming Up the Tigris: Real Life Encounters with Iraq” by veteran anthropologist and journalist Barbara Nimri Aziz wins praise from all sides of the public spectrum.

Etel Adnan, poet, essayist, and artist writes: “It’s so human. I loved the poems, the images, the anecdotes. They’re heartbreaking. You want to hug these people. They will survive, and they will rebuild. We have to believe in that.”

Scott Ritter, chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq (1991-1998) says of this unique perspective on Iraq: “Barbara Nimri Aziz has written a must-read book which puts a human face on an Iraqi people dehumanized by simplistic, misleading and inaccurate media accounts before, during and after America’s illegitimate invasion and occupation of their homeland.
She also puts an inconvenient truth to the lies and misrepresentations often held as a fact by many Americans…, the awful impact of sanctions before the 2003 invasion, and the sophistication and depth of a thousands-year-old culture in the process of being destroyed.”

Anthropologist Professor Laura Nader sees Aziz’s report on her many years observation of Iraq as “informative, empathetic, and eye-opening”. Nader writes “This gripping story about the embargo war on Iraqi peoples and culture is critical to understanding how American foreign policy erases history and the collective memory of both Iraqis and Americans”.

Aziz herself sees this account, stories and facts culled from her 42 trips to Iraq, as a portrait of a people who love their country. “If this concept, so lacking in war and conflict portrayals, can be grasped by Americans who too love their land,” she writes, “there is hope”.

This is a book which combines the analytical skills of a veteran anthropologist and the narrative ability of a journalist.

Returning from her Fulbright professorship in Algeria, Dr. Aziz will be touring the country, speaking at colleges and community centers. To set up an engagement, contact swimming@RadioTahrir.org, or write directly to aziz@wbai.org.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com