Friday, 25 October 2013

GINS #1

Hi Readers,
Just for a quick update, we have began a new project called the Global Issues Novel Study, or for short GINS. For the next while, I will be participating in exploring various global issues in our society by looking at a book. For more information, feel free to click here. The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber is the novel I chose to pursue this project with. Currently, I have finished about 20% of my novel (56 pages) and will being analyzing the content that I have encountered. 


What is the main issue being addressed in your novel?
       The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber is an extremely sad and tragic novel with a touch of hope. This book focuses on one particular family who upon trying to flee missiles had seven of the total nine family members killed by a missile. The author plays a role as the protagonist as well, falling in love with the surviving daughters who have been thrown into a shattering state of losing their family and becoming just few of the many orphans. If you are a person with true compassion in your heart, you cannot overlook the fact that there were many more stories like this happening one after another! War is always a devastating act that affects all civilizations either emotionally or physically, but The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles portrays this event through the eyes of a Muslim women who is a British journalist covering stories in war torn Iraq; this women is Hala Jaber.   

Why did you choose this piece for your project?
       Personally, I loved the title The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles and after reading the synopsis I absolutely fell in love with it. The small ‘catch phrase’: “A Women’s Fight to Save Two Orphans” also grasped my attention and immediately I wanted to know more about this topic. Although it seems like an emotionally moving novel depicting experiences of women and children whose lives have been irreversibly changed due to dramatic events like war, this book offers a change for redemption and improvement after a period of misery. I have always had the passion for bringing change into our world and a quote that I base my everyday life’s actions upon is “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi. Ultimately, this led me to choose The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber for my novel study project!

What background knowledge do you already possess on this issue?
         After reading nearly 30 pages into the novel, Hala Jaber introduced a known event of the 9/11 Twin Tower collapse that had killed hundreds of innocent lives.
“It was not until I saw United Airlines Flight 175 slice through the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, that I knew precisely what I had to do.” (pg. 34).
       “But the collapse of the Twin Towers sparked something inside me that I thought had long been extinguished. An enormous news story was breaking in front of my eyes and I realized I wanted to be one of the thousands of reporters covering it.” (pg. 34)
         I had quite a lot of background knowledge on this topic, but the main issue of the 2003 war between United States and Iraq was a new to me. Its embarrassing to say that I do not know much about war in general, other than the obvious fact of it being very disheartening and damaging. Hopefully after reading The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber, I will attain more knowledge about the general global issue of war.
  
What questions do you have as you begin to read?
Hala Jaber; The author & protagonist of
Flying Carpet of Small Miracles.
       At first I was a little confused about why Hala Jaber, a women born in Arab with Arab beliefs, would marry a Westerner, Steve? But after reading a little bit into the novel and understanding more about Hala’s background, I came to know that she was sent to the West to be educated: “There’s a part of me that is very Arab, but then again another side of me belongs in the West where you sent me to be educated.” (pg. 21).
       Another question that confronted my mind was why having a baby was so important to Hala? Couldn’t she just adopt one? But then it came to mind that adopting was practically exactly what she had done after promising the grandmother of two surviving orphans of the tragic missile accident: “In that sense, Zahra had become my responsibility. She would have life, I vowed. She would have hope. She would have a future. No one could be more determined than I to see to that.” (pg. 14). All in all, Hala did not want to intentionally adopt a child due to several reasonable motives: “I craved a child, but I wanted one that had grown inside me, one that had heard my heartbeat for nine months. I wanted one that has Steve’s blood running through its veins. You could be sure of your own child, but there were no guarantees with someone else’s. I feared the unknown. What is the stranger’s baby had bad genes? What is I could not love him enough?” (pg. 33).
       Lastly, I questioned whether or not the war depicted in this novel was fictional but after obviously connected the dots I came to realization that this is a non-fictional book about a real-life issue that impacted many lives either physically or emotionally! Although, why was U.S. attacking or having war with Iraq? This still inquires my mind and I wonder if I will get the answer in the book or if I will have to dig a little deeper through the use of additional sources like the Internet.

What characters/players have been introduced so far?
       After reading 20% of the novel I have a good indication of the plot and characters in this book. First off, Hala Jaber plays the role as a protagonist trying to save two young orphans lives after a devastation of war left them injured and permanently separated from their families. These young orphans are identified as Hawra (3 month old) & Zahra Kathem (3 years old): the only survivors of the family of nine who met with a tragic missile accident. Yet, I still have to know more about their family heritage, culture, lifestyle in Iraq and overall identity. Hala is a women brought up in Beruit with a connection to the Western world. She has an interesting relationship with the distressed children she meets in the hospitals, mainly because her husband – Steve Bent – and herself could not have a baby.
       The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles first began by introducing the car accident that took the innocent lives of 7 members of the Kathem family, including Ali (father), Rasmiyeh (mother), Muntather (eldest son of 18 years), 3 additional younger sons and another girl, leaving behind Hawra and Zahra to live their lives with grief. Although the survivors are not old enough to understand what had occurred with their other family members, I am sure that this event will change them forever!
       The additional smaller roles of characters introduced include Grandmother (grandmother of Hawra & Zahra), Rana Jaber (Hala’s sister), Lara Jaber (Rana’s daughter), Diana & Samia (Hala’s friends), Sean Ryan (editor of The Sunday Times) and of course Hala’s loving parents.
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The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber is a book that I cannot wait to read because of its narrative plot, which has a lesson for everyone. All in all, I know that after I finish reading this novel I will grow as an individual and come to understand about the lives of many others who face matters of disrespect, inequality and losing their loved ones; these are just some of the several issues we could never even dream of.

Are you reading any books that involve global issues? Have you read The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber? Feel free to comment, question or share your thoughts below!

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