Waiting for the Rain
Lamees Al Ethari
In this memoir, Lamees Al Ethari traces her transition from an idyllic childhood in a large extended Iraqi family to the relative stability of an exilic family life in Canada. Through memory fragments, flights of poetry, diary entries and her own art, the author reveals the trauma suffered by Iraqis, caused by three senseless wars, dehumanizing sanctions, a brutal dictatorship and a foreign occupation. Finely observed, highly personal and intensely moving, this account also gives testimony to the Iraqi people's resilience and the humanity they manage to preserve in the face of adversity. It is the other voice, behind the news flashes. (From Mawenzi House)
From the book
I was born in Iraq in the city of Kufa, but my father's family is originally from a very small village nearby, called Al-Harmia.
My father is the son of a clan-leader and landowner in southern Iraq who was well known and well respected throughout the region for his generosity and discernment. According to my father, his family left the Arabian Peninsula over 300 years ago and settled on a stretch of land alongside a distributary of the Euphrates called Chehat. I am not sure exactly where they migrated from at that time, but I have been told that the family lineage originated in Mecca some 1400 years ago, which is approximately the time when Prophet Muhammad lived there. The family name in Arabic, Al Ethari (or Al Athari), supposedly means "cultivator of land." They grow a short-grained, fragrant type of rice called "ambar," which is only found in southern Iraq.
From Waiting for the Rain by Lamees Al Ethari ©2019. Published Mawenzi House.