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The Resurrected

Availability: Forthcoming
Published: 2023
Page #: xii + 460
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-1-56859-374-6

Quick Overview

This is the fictionalized true story of a genocide as told by some who lived it – as victims, perpetrators, or witnesses. 


In particular, it’s the story of two brave young men who were dragged to the killing grounds and, separately and miraculously, managed to escape. Eventually they found their way to America – to live the protected but split-soul lives typical of first-generation immigrants. It’s a story of luck, pluck, and perseverance, and many setbacks along the way.


That genocide was Saddam Hussein’s Anfal counterinsurgency campaign against the Kurds in 1988, a traumatic event of great significance to those caught up in it – and for what was yet to come. I helped document it as a consultant for Human Rights Watch in the 1990s via testimonial, forensic and documentary research.


During Anfal, the Iraqi army flushed villagers out of the countryside with poison gas, rounded them up, and carted them off to execution sites. Over 100,000 died. The heroes of the story somehow didn’t die. They describe their ordeal in detail, as well as the aftermath, including their Iraqi army service in Kuwait, their move to the U.S., and their strange journey back to Baghdad to testify against Saddam. Yet theirs is not the only story that matters: the main architects and perpetrators of Anfal make important appearances as well, justifying or rationalizing their actions. The book comes to a dramatic climax in the Washington, DC suburbs in the 2010s, when survivors and perpetrators happen upon one another.


To reproduce the participants’ astonishing tale, the author had them tell it in their own voices. There are two primary narrators: one of the execution survivors, a man named Kawa, and “a human rights investigator,” who describes his own travails in documenting the genocide while providing historical context.


There are several others, each presented in a somewhat different format (testimony, memory shards, TV talk show, speech, interrogation, confessional, etc.).


For heightened effect, the author has broken down the participants’ contributions into parts, and both interwove and scrambled them chronologically in strands of discordant melody that, in a rising crescendo, cumulatively produce a narrative harmony. 


Together these voices bring this story to life and illuminate it in ways that a conventional non-fiction retelling could not have accomplished. It’s nonfiction with fictionalized twists. A non-fiction novel.

Joost R. Hiltermann

Joost Hiltermann is Program Director, Middle East & North Africa, at the International Crisis Group, an independent NGO dedicated to preventing deadly conflict, for which he has worked in various capacities since 2002, including as Chief Operating Officer. Before that, he was Executive Director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch (1994-2002) and database coordinator and research coordinator at the Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq in Ramallah (1985-1990). He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is author of A Poisonous Affair: America, Iraq, and the Gassing of Halabja (Cambridge, 2007), and Behind the Intifada: Labor and Women's Movements in the Occupied Territories (Princeton, 1991). He has been a contributor to The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Middle East Report, and other publications; has lectured widely; and has taught courses at Johns Hopkins University SAIS, Georgetown University and the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies.

TO COME.

7/27/2023

 
"This unconventional, witty, harrowing, compassionate, and engaging novel tells the story of one of the great horrors of the late twentieth century, the Anfal campaign against the Kurds of Iraq. It is a strange and wonderful book that could only have been written by Joost Hiltermann, one of the world's leading experts on that genocide and himself a character in this indelible tale."
Nathan Thrall, author of "A Day in the Life of Abed Salama."
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