The Wake of War
Encounters in Iraq and Afghanistan
By Anne Nivat
(Beacon Press, Hardcover, 9780807002407, 304pp.)
Publication Date: October 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
In the spring of 2003, acclaimed journalist Anne Nivat set off from Tajikistan on a six-month journey through the aftermath of the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. As with her prizewinning work reporting the lives of ordinary Chechens during their war, Nivat felt compelled to meet and write about the lives of everyday peoplenot just the voices at the center of the conflict, but also those in small towns and along roadways.
She spoke to engineers and teachers, ex-military men and rising leaders, an actor and a former Taliban member; she stayed with Kurdish and Shi’a and Turkoman families; and all along the way, she recorded their stories. We meet Hamid, a prosperous engineer who rails against the United States and against Afghanistan’s passive cooperation with the superpower. A powerful warlord keeps an extraordinary rose garden in the midst of the desert, and an Afghani gynecologist, having devoted her life to the health of Afghan women, has never touched even the hand of a man. In Iraqi Kurdistan we learn that hummus is unknown and see the after-effects of Saddam Hussein’s policy of Arabization: one young Kurdish leader declares that The Arabs are barbarians by nature, their culture is nothing but thievery, looting, and killing!” In Iraqi Kurdistand we learn that hummus is unknown and see the aftereffects of Saddam Hussein’s policy of Arabization: One young Kurdish leader declares that the Arabs are barbarians by nature; their culture is nothing but thievery, looting, and killing!” But in Kirkuk, a Turkoman claims the Kurds behave just like the dictator who oppressed them.” Near Basra we meet Adnan Karim Bhaya, an ex-admiral who proudly recounts his battles against the Iranians and later against British allied troops, but who now finds himself stripped of his military status and living on his wife’s salary.
Throughout, Nivat allows each person to speak in his or her own voice without interposing her presence on their wordswords of hope, sadness, anger, and, above all, the uncertainty that fills their everyday lives.
Anne Nivat is an award-winning journalist and author. She covered the Chechen war for the French daily Libération and is currently the Moscow correspondent for Ouest-France. Artist-in-residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in 2004, Nivat has written pieces for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the International Herald Tribune and has appeared on NPR's Fresh Air, The Connection, and PBS's NewsHour, as well as other radio and TV programs. She holds a doctorate in political science from Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, and she was a Fulbright Fellow at the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University. In 2001, she received the SAIS-Novartis International Journalism Award at The Johns Hopkins University. For her first book, Chienne de Guerre: A Woman Reporter Behind the Lines of the War in Chechnya, which won the Albert Londres Prize in 2000, Nivat disguised herself as a Chechen woman and traveled to the war-torn region despite a Russian ban on journalists. Also the author of The View from the Vysotka, Nivat lives in Moscow and travels extensively.