Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Between Two Worlds" by Zainab Salbi

When Zainab Salbi first published her memoir, I was reluctant to read it. I thought I knew everything about her and her work. What else did I need to know? I needed to learn how Zainab transformed her life to become the person she is today.

Zainab's memoir reflects its title "Between Two Worlds." It's a story of a young girl who didn't want to be part of Saddam's circle, but had to play the game for the sake of her parents' safety. When the game got too risky, her mother made a well-intended but wrong decision. She arranged for Zainab to marry an Iraqi expat living in the States.

The marriage didn't last due to her husband's abusive habits. That was the turning point of her life. Later, she met her soulmate, and now she's happily married to the man of her life. I wonder if she would've become the person she is today if it wasn't for what she had gone through at a young age.

When I got to the part of the book where Zainab explains how Women For Women International came to exist, I realized Zainab is made of rare stock. Here's a young woman who could've focused on her college studies and marriage. Instead, she decided to help victims of rape in former Yugoslavia during the early stages of the civil war. Her organization started with little money but with great determination.

What I like most about Zainab is how she didn't restrict her efforts to one specific country. Many activists focus on their own country's issues or another country of their choice. Zainab's activism expands to Africa, Eastern Europe, Afghanistan and Iraq. She reaches out to help abused women regardless of their country, color, religion or ethnic group.

So far, more than 50,000 abused women have benefited from her organization.

Between Two Worlds

One to One with Zainab Salbi - Part I

One to One with Zainab Salbi - Part II

Zainab Salbi in Congo

Zainab Salbi in Darfur

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