Man in Blue Pyjamas (The)

From 1986 to 1988 poet and journalist Jalal Barzanji endured imprisonment and torture under Saddam Hussein’s regime because of his literary and journalistic achievements—writing that openly explores themes of peace, democracy, and freedom. It was not until 1998, when he and his family took refuge in Canada, that he was able to consider speaking out fully on these topics. Still, due to economic necessity, Barzanji’s dream of writing had to wait until he was named Edmonton’s first Writer-in-Exile in 2007. This literary memoir is the project Barzanji worked on while Writer-in-Exile, and it is the first translation of his work from Kurdish into English.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Front Cover 1
Title Page 4
Copyright 5
Dedication 6
Epigraph 8
Contents 10
Foreword | Saul 14
Maps 17
Preface 18
Acknowledgements 20
Introduction | Salih 22
1 The First Stage of Imprisonment 28
A Bitter Evening 28
A Deathly Quiet Cell 39
Hope Fading 49
A Hill of Blankets 56
Some Shocking News 65
Prison Number Five 71
Secret Funeral 74
2 Early Childhood in the Age of the Village 76
Unknown Birthday 76
A Fire in the Village 80
The Mystery Solved 88
Half of Ashkaftsaqa Dancing 90
Leaving Ashkaftsaqa 92
Our First Days in the City 98
Resuming School 101
Un Unlikely Continuation of My Story 103
My Sun Rising Above the Citadel 106
3 A City Boy 106
An Overplayed Ball 111
Perhaps, Peace at Last 115
The Illusion Ends 118
A Teacher's Life 125
4 A World of Words 130
The Lure of Reading 130
A Return to the Library 135
My First Publication 137
Writing in an Atmosphere of Fear 143
One Bright Moment 147
5 Life in Prison 152
My First Visitor 152
A Shared Home 160
Your Words Bring You Home to Me 163
A Poet Misses His Father 165
The Worst Deprivation 167
Nature's Ways 169
Ghareeb's Disappearance 170
The Third Visit 171
Health Issues 173
Cancelling the Visit 175
6 Fear in a Different Form 178
The Release 178
Fear Didn't Leave Me Alone 185
An Anfal Story 187
Rapareen, or the Uprising 192
A Twist of Fate 196
Returning Home 202
7 Searching for a New Beginning 206
Crossing Borders 206
Ankara 1997 215
Seeking Asylum 222
Exile in Sivas 229
8 Another Attempt at Starting Over 238
Flying to a New Home 238
Losing My Luggage 241
Our Final Destination 245
A Death in Exile 251
Somewhere In-between 255
Justice at Last 263
Chronology 266
Glossary 270
Index 274
Other titles from University of Alberta Press 289