In 1976, Nahlah Ayed’s family gave up their comfortable life in Winnipeg for the squalor of a Palestinian refugee camp in Amman, Jordan. The transition was jarring, but it was from this uncomfortable situation that Ayed first observed the people whose heritage she shared. The family returned to Canada when she was thirteen, and Ayed ignored the Middle East for many years. But the First Gulf War and the events of 9/11 reignited her interest. Soon she was reporting from the region full-time, trying to make sense of the wars and upheavals that have affected its people and sent so many of them seeking a better life elsewhere. In A Thousand Farewells, Ayed describes with sympathy and insight the myriad ways in which the Arab people have fought against oppression and loss as seen from her own early days witnessing protests in Amman, and the wars, crackdowns, and uprisings she has reported on in countries across the region. This is the heartfelt and personal chronicle of a journalist who has devoted much of her career to covering one of the world’s most vexing regions.
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Published April 10, 2012