Insight with Hadani Ditmars – Being a Woman in Iraq

Talk Tuesday 17th July, 2007

Hadani Ditmars, Canadian journalist who has been writing from Iraq since 1997, will be speaking about women in Iraq and how their lives have changed, drawing on her experiences described in her acclaimed book Dancing in the No-Fly Zone.

Of the plethora of books out there on Iraq (now four years since the US-led invasion) Dancing in the No-Fly Zone has a sense of reality and immediacy difficult to match.

Dancing in the No-Fly Zone deftly places the reader beyond stereotypes, into the lives of the people who have lived decades under war, sanctions, oppression and terror. Often passing as an Iraqi, and often using her ability to skip between various European languages – intermittently waving her Canadian passport in defence – Ditmars compels with her audacity. Journeys around dangerous areas in post-invasion Iraq are juxtaposed with memories of her experiences of life under Saddam. With a variety of cunning disguises, at one moment a peasant, another in traditional Muslim veil, she moves among the people like some sort of multiple identity secret agent, often staying too long in perilous circumstances. One almost breathes a sigh of relief to reach the end of the book and find she has not been bundled into the back of an untraceable car.

Moderated by Fionnuala Sweeney – CNN reporter and presenter.