The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles: A Woman's Fight to Save Two Orphans

The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles: A Woman's Fight to Save Two Orphans

by Hala Jaber
     
 

The inspiring true story of a prizewinning foreign correspondent longing for a child, two small Iraqi children in need of a mother, and what love and grief can teach us about family and hope.

Zahra, age three, and Hawra, only a few months old, were the only survivors of a missile strike in Baghdad in 2003 that killed their parents and five siblings.

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Overview

The inspiring true story of a prizewinning foreign correspondent longing for a child, two small Iraqi children in need of a mother, and what love and grief can teach us about family and hope.

Zahra, age three, and Hawra, only a few months old, were the only survivors of a missile strike in Baghdad in 2003 that killed their parents and five siblings. Across the world, in London, foreign correspondent Hala Jaber was preparing to head to Iraq to cover the emerging war. After ten years spent trying to conceive and struggling with fertility problems, Jaber and her husband had finally resigned themselves to a childless future. Now she intended to bury her grief in her work, with some unusually dangerous reporting. Once in Iraq, though, Jaber found herself drawn again and again to stories of mothers and children, a path that led her to an Iraqi children's hospital—and to Zahra and Hawra and their heart-wrenching story. Almost instantly Jaber became entwined in the lives of these two Iraqi children, and in a struggle to advocate on their behalf that reveals far more about the human cost of war than any news bulletin ever could.

Beautifully written and deeply moving, The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles presents a genuinely fresh insight and perspective from a woman who, as an Arab living and working in the West, is able to uniquely straddle both worlds. In its attention to the emotional experiences of women and children whose lives are irrevocably changed by war, Jaber's story offers hope for redemption for those caught in its cross fires.
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lebanese journalist Jabber covered the U.S. invasion of Baghdad for the Sunday Telegraph along with her husband, British photographer Steve Bent. Western educated, Arabic speaking and Muslim, Jaber brings a special perspective to the Iraq War, focusing on the lives of ordinary citizens, especially women, and the story soars as she captures the mood of the city waiting for the inevitable bombs: “the joyous frequency of wedding celebrations... showed that Baghdadis sensed sorrow might not be far away.” In the midst of a city torn by sectarian violence, Jaber is instructed to find a poster child for a London charity campaign, specifically a wounded girl, between one and five, whose parents had died and whose face was unscathed. Going from hospital to hospital, she meets her destiny in a three and a half year old terribly burned girl, Zahra, who with her infant sister, Hawra, are the only survivors of a bomb that killed her entire family. Jaber uses the war and these children to frame her personal sadness at not being able to conceive her own children, and the essence is an unusual portrait of a successful professional woman who gets close enough to her subjects to question her life and her choices. (June)
Carolyn See
…fascinating…Hala Jaber may not be the most stable person in the world, and she's the first one to admit it. She says that in earlier days she resisted adoption in England because she thought social workers would reject her as being "too old, too busy, too addicted to cigarettes." Too cracked might be another reason. None of that interferes with her award-winning journalistic work, however, as she reports on an out-of-control war that must have seemed to someone like a good idea, at the time.
—The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews
A British-Lebanese journalist's story of the orphaned children she encountered on assignment in Iraq, her commitment to two of those young war victims and her private struggles with infertility. While working as a reporter for Reuters, London Sunday Times foreign correspondent Jaber (Hezbollah, 1997) met and fell in love with a photojournalist who would become her husband. In the early 1990s the couple discovered that Jaber was infertile. They pursued in-vitro procedures and considered adoption, but "it was not until I saw United Airlines Flight 175 slice through the South Tower of the World Trade Center of 11 September 2001 that I knew precisely what I had to do." Jaber returned to Iraq as a war correspondent. While working on a story about orphaned children and their injuries, she met two girls, three-year-old Zahra and her younger sister Hawra, who lost their parents and five other siblings in a missile attack. Profoundly moved by the tragedy and "unprepared for how strongly I would respond as a childless woman to [these] motherless child[ren]," Jaber set out, with the help of an aid worker, to ensure that the badly wounded older sister received the medical care she required. Talking to the children's grandmother, the author also explored the cultural complexities of adoption and the feasibility of financial support. Jaber's story showcases the tension between the demands of journalistic objectivity and her intense emotional involvement with the lives of Zahra and Hawra. As an Arab Muslim woman working for Western media outlets, the author offers a unique perspective on life as a journalist in the Middle East. Despite occasional moments of uncomfortable sentimentality, Jaber movesgracefully between her knowledge of, and respect for, Arab culture and her duties as a reporter. A deeply personal account of one woman's personal demons, maternal desires and professional responsibilities in the context of contemporary Middle Eastern politics.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594488672
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/2009
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Hala Jaberwas born in West Africa and grew up in Lebanon, where her family still lives. She is the author of the memoir The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles. She began her journalistic career in the Press Association bureau in Beirut. Twice named Foreign Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards, in 2005 and 2006, she has been honored by Amnesty International and in 2007 won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.

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