Born in Canada to immigrant parents, raised in Jordan as a Palestinian refugee, award-winning CBC reporter for the Middle East, Nahlah Ayed offers a unique insider’s perspective to Canadians. When she was a child, Ayed’s parents made the fateful decision to move from Manitoba back to Jordan to ensure that their four children remained connected to their culture and heritage. For Nahlah and her siblings, it was a shocking change: they’d left their comfortable Winnipeg home for the squalor of a refugee camp in Amman. Living first in a tent, then in a concrete house, Ayed meets her extended family and learns of the sorrows of generations of displaced Palestinians. Uprooted and prevented from returning to their ancestral lands by the new geopolitical reality of Israel, they struggle to forge a new life in daunting conditions. At the same time, she is confronted with the sometimes uncomfortable realities of growing up female in a restrictive culture. Driven towards journalism by a desire to challenge wrongdoing, Nahlah found herself, unexpectedly, covering both the Afghanistan and then Iraq wars. She continues to cover the recent upheavals in Egypt and Libya. However, it is not war that she is following, but the plight of the region’s people who struggle to rebuild lives amid danger, uncertainty, and perpetual displacement.
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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.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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