Haifa Zangana chose a path for herself when she was 16 years old, to become the conscience-keeper of her homeland, Iraq, and it’s a path that she has continued on for a lifetime. Writer and humanist, Zangana, the daughter of a Kurdish father and Iraqi mother, was born in Baghdad and followed the footsteps of her communist father by joining a union of radical students at the age of 16. Her mixed identity of a patriarchal society in Baghdad and the more liberal region of Kurdistan shaped her politics. She was imprisoned by Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime, the only political female prisoner, and those experiences of being tortured, beaten and interrogated have become a part of her writing. Of her books, the first one Dreaming of Baghdad, took her eight years to write, it was a way of expunging the memories of those years in Iraq. Through the years, there have been many other books, Women on a Journey: Between Baghdad and London, Not One More Death and War With No End are the most well known. She has advised the UNDP and Brussels Tribunal and is a regular contributor to international journals.
Zangana fled Iraq to save her life. She lived with guilt for many years, guilt for surviving while many of her comrades were massacred, guilt for abandoning her family and her country. She now lives in London, with her husband, a professor of Mathematics, and her daughter. Just as she vociferously opposed Saddam’s regime, she has been a vocal opponent of the invasion of 2003 and Bush and Blair whom she holds responsible for completing the destruction of Iraq. After so long, Zangana, stills feels displaced, her home is in Iraq and she wants to find a way back there. In an interview to the Guardian, she stated, “Everything I care about is Iraq”.