My Father's Rifle: A Childhood in Kurdistan

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Macmillan, Jan 24, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 112 pages
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A young Kurd comes of age in a war-torn land. This beautiful, spare narrative tells of the life of a boy named Azad--in fact the author, a Kurdish filmmaker--as he grows to manhood in Iraq during the 1960s and 1970s. Azad is born into a vibrant village culture, to a family that is proud of its Kurdish past and hopes for a free Kurdish future. He loves his mother's orchard, his cousin's stunt pigeons, his father's old Czech rifle, his brother who is fighting in the mountains. But before he is even of school age, Azad has experienced strafing and bombing; he watches as friends and neighbors are assassinated; and he sees his father humiliated when he tries to get food for his starving family. Forced into a refugee camp in Iran for years, his family realizes, on their return, that Saddam Hussein and his regime are destroying the autonomy he had promised their people. In a burst of adolescent impatience, Azad briefly runs off to the mountains to fight for Kurdish liberty, like his brother. But Azad has also discovered art--drawings, poetry, film--and he senses that he must find his own way to advance the Kurdish cause. My Father's Rifle ends with his heartbreaking departure from his parents and flight across the Syrian border to freedom. Stunning in its unadorned intensity, My Father's Rifle is a moving portrait of a boy who embraces the land and culture he loves, even as he leaves them.

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MY FATHER'S RIFLE: A Childhood in Kurdistan

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Well-done but dispiriting memoir of growing up in Iraq during the 1960s and '70s, when Kurdish aspirations for independence were increasingly suppressed.Now a filmmaker living in Paris, Saleem ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kambrogi - LibraryThing

A short memoir that makes clear the pain and frustration of life for a boy growing up a citizen of a nation that exists fully only in its people’s dreams: Kurdistan. Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Hiner Saleem, an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, was born in 1964 in Iraqi Kurdistan. After fleeing Iraq in the late 1970s, he lived in Syria, Florence, and then Paris, where he began making movies. His feature films include Vodka Lemon.

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