For some bizarre reason , my library dashboard showed me this book and curiosity killed the proverbial cat and I put it on my list to read .
After I got it home , idle curiosity made me peruse it (I have a rather large list of books that I am currently reading and by no means was this even top of my list) but as I browsed through a few pages , everything was forgotten and I devoured the book in a few hours.
In an age where we have watched countless innocent journalists such as Daniel Pearl , James Foley and so many brave journalists and humanitarian workers murdered brutally and senselessly , it was inspiring to read about a journalist talking with these people , often going alone without her phone or any tracking devices . These fundamentalists are incidentally the same people who had to release a rape handbook for its members because their atrocities against women made even these battle hardened veterans squeamish . I also found that Human Trafficking is also a lucrative source of income for these folks . So it was all the more laudable to read about her travails through these interesting times and places.
I have always been puzzled by the incidents of British born citizens who end up becoming part of these fundamentalist groups and commit abhorrent acts of terrorism. She offers interesting and disturbing explanations which I found perfectly plausible (though having never lived or visited Europe , I can neither confirm nor deny) .
Her brilliant and painstaking analysis of the Middle East itself is eye opening , a region that not only seems to be at odds with the foreign policies of Western nations (AKA oil and Israel) but also the intense and horrific struggle between the two sects of Islam , Shia and Sunni . Henry VIII initiated the English Reformation (perhaps inspired by Anne Boleyn) and the results were near catastrophic for the masses . Today the struggle in the Middle East between the two sects seems oddly reminiscent of those horrifying massacres .
When Arab spring happened in 2011 , I imagined that this was to be the flowering of democracy that people clamored for , instead we saw chaos . Again she tries to go into depth and explain why that was a very naive expectation .
The most inspiring piece for me was where she wrote eloquently about her own experiences growing up as a minority and working harder than everybody to shine and be noticed rather than play the victim.
I cannot do justice to the book because words fail me , it left a deep and poignant impression
History teaches us that those who forget history are damned to repeat it