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A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter's Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring [Hardcover]

Nahlah Ayed
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 32.00
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Book Description

April 10 2012

Amazon.ca Editors' Pick: Best Books of 2012

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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A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter's Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring + 419: A Novel
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Review

“Ayed’s voice is fresh in Middle East coverage. She is plain-spoken, intellectually honest.” - National Post

“Powerful … [A Thousand Farewells is] part memoir, part history lesson on the Arab world—and quietly, but oh so passionately, a defence of good old-fashioned journalism in a time of cost cuts and Google News…. Ayed brings insight to big societal issues …. But she is at her most persuasive recounting the stories of ordinary Arabs she meets along the way.” - The Gazette (Montreal)

In the Canadian media landscape, it’s a rare journalist who views reporting as a selfless calling that subjugates ego in favour of a well-reported story. That’s why Nahlah Ayed’s new memoir is a refreshing take on the life of an overseas correspondent in some of the world’s most volatile hot spots…. Ayed’s all-consuming work ethic is apparent in the care and attention to detail throughout this book…. By no means a comprehensive overview of the region, A Thousand Farewells is nonetheless a valuable street-level view that doesn’t boast of big names interviewed or famous company kept. Rather, this genuinely interesting individual dedicated to no-nonsense coverage of a difficult part of the world offers readers a good narrative that recalls an age when the substance of journalists’ work took precedence over their well-coiffed personas.” - Quill & Quire (starred review)

“[A Thousand Farewells is] brisk but carefully measured…. A compelling collection of stories and subjects, memories and snippets of well-chosen journalistic detail.” - Winnipeg Free Press

About the Author

Nahlah Ayed was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is of Palestinian descent, and is fluent in both Arabic and English. She joined the CBC in 2002 and is currently a CBC correspondent, stationed in Libya.


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Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compassionate Witness April 30 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If ever you might consider an individual both called by destiny and responding in Freedom to that call..Nahlah Ayed would be such a one. Her ability to both be a witness and a participant in the events in her life and the life of the Middle East is both objective and passionate. She has the gift of piercing through the veils of a situation and revealing the human heart of the matter..with tremendous clarity..thus able in a way to see things as they are with empathy..judging yet non-judgemental. Her writing has both the conciseness of the seasoned reporter under time restrictions having to cut to the chase without trivialising an event or a life. Yet her writing is not dry but leads you in deeply to the story..and as she says "the people are the story". I thank her for the writing of this book. Her insights and experiences are a gift to anyone trying to make understand more both the refugee, the weight of history, and the longing for emancipation.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Nahlah Ayed is a Canadian, of Palestinian ethnicity. She begins the book with her early, comfortable life in Canada and then details her traumatizing move to a refugee camp in Jordan when she was a child. Her family lived in Jordan for seven long unhappy years before they returned to the security and safety of Canada. Nahlah became a TV journalist. With her fluency in Arabic, it was natural for her to cover the Middle East. She recalls various conflicts she saw, in which she was sometimes an accidental participant, with the cool eye of the professional. With her unusual background and understanding, she writes not just of the problems and overall disfunction of the region, be it Beirut or Baghdad, but captures the age old sadness. The dictators and autocratic monarchs have kept the people enslaved and finally, in the age of social media, they are beginning to rebel. A great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thousand Farewells Sept. 1 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A well-written, honest description of the key issues in the Middle East, and of the difficulties journalists face in covering the region. Ayed is a fine reporter, and as her book shows, a conscientious, decent human being. I've reported from the region myself, and her work is bang-on. Shukraan, Nahlah.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening . Feb. 6 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After seeing Nahlah on the CBC evening news so many times over the years reporting on stories in the middle east , hearing she
had written a book about her life i knew i would have to read it . I come from a " wasp " background ( white anglo saxon / protestant ) and Nahlah --Arab / Palestinian , you couldn't get 2 more different people if you tried . Yet i could easily relate to some of her feelings in her book which i found to be open , raw & honest and caused in me deep emotional reactions and new understanding
of just how difficult life in some countries really is , and just how truly fortunate i am to be where i am .
Thank you Nahlah * a thousand times * for sharing your life with us ( the world ) , i'm sure this couldn't have been easy to write for you .
Yes i would recommend this to friend-s- and already have .
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