Manal M. Omar “Barefoot in Baghdad”

The full title of this book is “Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity — My Own and What It Means to be a Woman in Chaos.”

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Personal Image of my Copy of Barefoot in Baghdad

Thought-provoking, eyeopening, and well written. The book centres Manal Omar’s experiences working in Iraq to provide relief to women in dire situations. Additionally, it discusses Omar’s personal story of identity of being an American-Palestinian Muslim woman choosing to wear the hijab in a war torn country.

Based on other reviews I came across for this book, some were convinced Manal Omar is/was anti-American. It is clear that for those who have this conception did not actually read the book. Manal Omar is not anti-American, she is more so against the occupation of military in Iraq, and is critical of the “War on Terror.” There is a difference between being American and the military.

There was an important quote Omar writes, which I will include here: “Years of humanitarian work had taught me that the smallest intervention could set loose an avalanche of unexpected consequences. I knew better than to dive in on a whim.” pg. 142.

This quote can be applied to humanitarian work such as the donation of clothes, textbooks, shoes, etc. On the surface these are great causes, but only offer short-term solutions. The real solution is long-term, in which communities are taught ways to sustain themselves. Just something I thought about whilst reading.

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