I have wanted to read this book for a very long time. Zainab Salbi has been someone who sparks inspiration and I have wanted to know more about her and how she came to construct the organisation Women for Women International. I had known previously. because of interviews and articles I had read, that she grew up in Iraq and was part of Saddam Hussein’s close circle. Her father was his personal airplane pilot.
Right away I was fascinated! How could that be? How did she feel about him? Were her parents supporters? Were they killed when the Americans invaded? How did she come to create this organization about helping people who were impacted by rape and war? I had so many questions and I knew the only way to find the answer was to read and learn.
It was hard to put this book down. The whole time you just want to keep reading to find out how her life happened, and how this impacted her life. I had to force myself to put the book down just so I wouldn’t finish it too quickly. I wanted to read the end, but at the same time I did not want it to end.
Most of the book takes place in Iraq and takes you through her life from her childhood to the time she and her family lived on Saddam Hussein’s property with him and his family not far away. It takes you through her thoughts and her emotions, both as a teenager and as a young women who did not fully understand what was happening or what her parents did to protect her. The last part of the book takes you through her life as an adult, living in America while her country was engulfed in the Gulf War with America. It also explains how she came to create Women for Women and the series of events that pushed her to do so.
I don’t want to give anything away because I think this is a book you need to read for yourself and feel the emotions that one could only feel when reading a book like this. I am still amazed by this book and I have long since finished it. I am happy I got to learn a bit more about this inspiring woman.