Ibrahim's Story: One Man, One Country

Monarchies and Dictatorship. Coups and Colonialism. War and civil conflict. The road through 20th-century Iraq is littered with seismic upheavals like these. But what's been obscured is how Iraqis actually resisted geopolitical interventions and tried to create a society according to their own ideals. IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell traces the untold story of someone who lived through it all.
Ibrahim al-Hariri

Monarchies and Dictatorship. Coups and Colonialism. War and civil conflict. The road through 20th-century Iraq is littered with cataclysms like these. But what's been obscured by these seismic events is how Iraqis resisted geopolitical interventions and tried to create a society based on their own ideals. In fact, much of modern western media has excluded the personal narratives of those who've fought and died trying to create a democratic Iraq.

Ibrahim al-Hariri is a writer and journalist who's spent his life living out that ideal. His story begins with his childhood in Beirut and continues with his imprisonment and torture as a teenager in Iraq. Ibrahim and his fellow Communists continued to struggle – first, against British colonial rule, then against Saddam Hussein's regime and finally the American occupation.  After 70 years of political resistance, Ibrahim Ismail presents his untold story which provides an insightful and dramatic back-drop to the chaos and violence of present-day Iraq.  
IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell -- who's known Ibrahim for 25 years -- helps us understand his perilous and compelling journey.  **This episode originally aired September 8, 2016.

Reading List 
Producer Mary O'Connell interviewing Ibrahim al-Hariri
A political activist his whole life, Ibrahim continued on this path when he arrived in Canada. During the first Persian Gulf War, he staged a hunger strike on the steps of a church.
Mary and Ibrahim’s friendship has been a journey of both tears and laughter. Ibrahim shares a moment of hilarity with Mary’s daughter, Nuala.

  • The Old Social Classes & The Revolutionary Movements of Iraq by Hanna Batatu, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 1979
  • A Short History of Iraq:  From 636 to the Present by Thabit Abdullah, Pearson Publishing, Toronto, 2003
  • Saddam Hussein: The Politics of Revenge by Said K. Aburish, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, England, 2000
  • Fiasco:  The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks, The Penguin Group, New York, 2006
  • The Jihadis Return: Isil and the New Sunni Uprising by Patrick Cockburn, OR Books, 2014
  • Iraq: A History by John Robertson, Oneworld Publications, London, England, Sept. 2015
  • Iraq: The Forever War by Noam Chomsky, PM Press, Oakland, California, 2010
  • Iraq:  A Political History by Adeed Dawisha, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 2013
  • Understanding Iraq: The Whole Sweep of Iraqi History, from Genghis Khan's Mongols to the Ottoman Turks to the British Mandate to the American Occupation by William R. Polk, HarperCollins Publishers, 2005
  • Independent Iraq:  British Influence from 1941-1958 by Matthew Elliot, I.B. Tauris, London, England, 1996
  • Iraq: From Sumer to Post- Saddam by Geoff Simons, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, NY, 2004


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