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Guzin Najim's the Promise: An Iraqi Mother's Desperate Flight to Freedom

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When Guzin Najim met Ra'ad Said at university in Baghdad, she knew she had found the love of her life. After a traditional Iraqi wedding, their world became the international diplomatic circuit. The arrival of their two children, Lina and Mohammed, made their happiness complete. But then Saddam Hussein came to power and their world changed. On the eve of the first Gulf War, When Guzin Najim met Ra'ad Said at university in Baghdad, she knew she had found the love of her life. After a traditional Iraqi wedding, their world became the international diplomatic circuit. The arrival of their two children, Lina and Mohammed, made their happiness complete. But then Saddam Hussein came to power and their world changed. On the eve of the first Gulf War, Ra'ad was recalled to Iraq and sent to work at the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad. One day Ra'ad's limp body was dragged from a government car by two of Saddam's henchmen. He was burning with fever, his eyes bloodshot. As he gasped for air, tears streaming down his face, he made Guzin promise to take their children out of Iraq and never return. Four days later, Ra'ad was dead, murdered by the brutal regime he was forced to serve. Only Guzin's love for her children gave her the strength to face what was to come...


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When Guzin Najim met Ra'ad Said at university in Baghdad, she knew she had found the love of her life. After a traditional Iraqi wedding, their world became the international diplomatic circuit. The arrival of their two children, Lina and Mohammed, made their happiness complete. But then Saddam Hussein came to power and their world changed. On the eve of the first Gulf War, When Guzin Najim met Ra'ad Said at university in Baghdad, she knew she had found the love of her life. After a traditional Iraqi wedding, their world became the international diplomatic circuit. The arrival of their two children, Lina and Mohammed, made their happiness complete. But then Saddam Hussein came to power and their world changed. On the eve of the first Gulf War, Ra'ad was recalled to Iraq and sent to work at the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad. One day Ra'ad's limp body was dragged from a government car by two of Saddam's henchmen. He was burning with fever, his eyes bloodshot. As he gasped for air, tears streaming down his face, he made Guzin promise to take their children out of Iraq and never return. Four days later, Ra'ad was dead, murdered by the brutal regime he was forced to serve. Only Guzin's love for her children gave her the strength to face what was to come...

30 review for Guzin Najim's the Promise: An Iraqi Mother's Desperate Flight to Freedom

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    An extraordinarily powerful real life narrative about the hell endured by a women and her family in Saddam' Hussein's Iraq. Recounts the life story of Guzim Najan, and her life as a GUI wife and then as a victim of Saddam's monstrous regime. Guzim was the wife of Iraqi diplomat Ra'ad Said, and the book describes Guzim's childhood and adolescence in Iraq, followed by Ra'ad and Guzim's life in the international diplomatic circuit, during the period of the Iraq-Iraq war of 1980-1989. On the eve of t An extraordinarily powerful real life narrative about the hell endured by a women and her family in Saddam' Hussein's Iraq. Recounts the life story of Guzim Najan, and her life as a GUI wife and then as a victim of Saddam's monstrous regime. Guzim was the wife of Iraqi diplomat Ra'ad Said, and the book describes Guzim's childhood and adolescence in Iraq, followed by Ra'ad and Guzim's life in the international diplomatic circuit, during the period of the Iraq-Iraq war of 1980-1989. On the eve of the First Gulf War of 1991, Ra'ad was recalled to Baghdad and instructed to work in the Foreign Ministry. T. Ra'ad became more depressed and uncommunicative. One day he was abducted by Saddam's ruthless secret service the Mukhabbarat and severally tortured before being dumped on his front porch, where he begged Guzim to promise him to take the children and leave Iraq. A few weeks later he was dead, probably of poison he was given when under the Mukhabbarat's imprisonment. After that Guzim and her family were subjected to three years of nightmarish house arrest, where they were daily terrorized by Saddam's thugs, and Guzim was beaten and tortured. Eventually , through he help of an old friend, who now served in the Mukhabbarat, Muzim and her children escaped to Jordan and eventually moved to freedom in Australia in 2002. As well as the story of Muzim and her family, this book is a history of Iraq under Saddam's horrific 23 year reign of terror, and a political history of Iraq prior to this period. Guzim relates at the end of the book her relief at seeing Iraq freed by the brave American, British, Australian and Polish troops of the coalition. Anyone who doubts the horrors perpetrated by Saddam Hussein and the reason for his overthrow should read this book. As recounted , quoting the book by Kenneth Polack, The Threatening Storm, 'This is a regime that will force a white hot metal rod into a person's anus or other orifices... This is a regime that will behead a young mother in the street in front of her house and and children because her husband was suspected of opposing the regime' Indeed Saddam's regime slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Kurds and marsh Arabs in a series of horrific genocides. Leftwing radicals in the West and elsewhere who have supported his regime should hang their heads in shame if they are still capable of any.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ieva Andriuskeviciene

    I accidentally took the book and expected it to be a weepy muslims woman story. I was so wrong! Book is amazing chronological testimony of Iranian history and rise of Saadam Hussein told in very simple and clear manner, full of facts. Guzin’s husband was a diplomat before Saadam’s regime and how family’s life changed after his murder by the government. Highly recommended for those who are interested how it looked from the inside. Very powerful.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Lane

    "Don't waste time, take your children and get out. Do not come back. Promise me, Guzin. Do not come back." Four days after uttering those words to his wife, Ra'ad died. He had been taken away from his family home earlier by 2 henchmen of Saddam Hussein. Questioned, interigated and later his limp body dumped on the steps of the family home. Saddam Hussein had control of Iraq and his reign of brutal terror forced people to work for him whether they wanted to or not. This story traces Guzin's horri "Don't waste time, take your children and get out. Do not come back. Promise me, Guzin. Do not come back." Four days after uttering those words to his wife, Ra'ad died. He had been taken away from his family home earlier by 2 henchmen of Saddam Hussein. Questioned, interigated and later his limp body dumped on the steps of the family home. Saddam Hussein had control of Iraq and his reign of brutal terror forced people to work for him whether they wanted to or not. This story traces Guzin's horrific time trying to escape Iraq with her children, trying to keep her promise to her husband. We follow her through 3 years of house arrest in Baghdad. The henchmen did weekly house raids terrorising the family and ransacking the house. Then a chance at freedom happened and they fled across the desert in a daring overnight escape we see their next 4 years trying to get to Australia. An unforgetable tale of a desperate journey to freedom.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Balzer

    this gave me an insight of what it was to live in iraq during a very turbulent and dangerous time of its history. if this is how the affluent fared i shudder to think how the poor survived. took a while to get into but once i sat and spent a few hours reading it i didn't want to put it down. this gave me an insight of what it was to live in iraq during a very turbulent and dangerous time of its history. if this is how the affluent fared i shudder to think how the poor survived. took a while to get into but once i sat and spent a few hours reading it i didn't want to put it down.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Forbes

    Powerful story of a woman's life, particularly living in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's horrific dictatorship there. Gruelling story. Well written Sandra Lee. Powerful story of a woman's life, particularly living in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's horrific dictatorship there. Gruelling story. Well written Sandra Lee.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Kay Silva

    This focused more about the politics of Iraq than the storyline. Interesting I suppose, but perhaps not what I was in the mood for.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aity

    Learn more about politic in Iraq. Happened that I knew a diplomat family from Iraq before...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    Fabulous!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Milissa

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jules

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Berquist

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mom aka Sam

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ann Mclean

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn174

  16. 4 out of 5

    Helen Gilbert

  17. 5 out of 5

    Donna

  18. 5 out of 5

    Monita Gangavarapu

  19. 4 out of 5

    Louise

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lorenick88

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Pitt

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jana Elston

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kai

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marion Brady

  26. 4 out of 5

    Roosmarijn

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Mcnamara

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Brockway

  29. 4 out of 5

    Helga

  30. 4 out of 5

    Larissa

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