A Thousand Farewells
A Reporter's Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring
Born in Canada to immigrant parents, raised in Jordan as a Palestinian refugee, award-winning CBC reporter for the Middle East, Nahlah Ayed offers a unique insider’s perspective to Canadians. When she was a child, Ayed’s parents made the fateful decision to move from Manitoba back to Jordan to ensure that their four children remained connected to their culture and heritage. For Nahlah and her siblings, it was a shocking change: they’d left their comfortable Winnipeg home for the squalor of a refugee camp in Amman. Living first in a tent, then in a concrete house, Ayed meets her extended family and learns of the sorrows of generations of displaced Palestinians. Uprooted and prevented from returning to their ancestral lands by the new geopolitical reality of Israel, they struggle to forge a new life in daunting conditions. At the same time, she is confronted with the sometimes uncomfortable realities of growing up female in a restrictive culture. Driven towards journalism by a desire to challenge wrongdoing, Nahlah found herself, unexpectedly, covering both the Afghanistan and then Iraq wars. She continues to cover the recent upheavals in Egypt and Libya. However, it is not war that she is following, but the plight of the region’s people who struggle to rebuild lives amid danger, uncertainty, and perpetual displacement.
The beautiful swore he wouldn’t be perfect.
As a child, I knew nothing of refugeehood and displacement; of grimy UN tents, kerosene lamps, and powdered milk; of children who for years refused to go to sleep without a loaf of bread in their clutches. Instead, I knew swaths of wide boulevards, blankets of green grass, and the warmth of central heating. I knew twentyfour-hour electricity and drinkable water that fl owed from a tap. I knew bread could be had at Safeway.
“Ayed's voice is fresh ... intellectually honest.”
“Powerful ... passionately, a defence of good old-fashioned journalism.”
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