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Initially, the idea was to split the book. I was to work on the testimonials and eyewitness
reports. He was to do the commentary, analysis and interpretation. It ended up that he
wrote the whole thing and I worked as his assistant.”
Before that, “I went in May ’91 to the Turkey border, when there was the mass exodus of
Kurds, after Iraqis rose up against Saddam. My brother went too before me. He was a
photographer. When I got back, Teresa said Kanan called for me. I helped on the book.
After the book, we did a report submitted to the U.N., on crimes against humanity.” From
1991 until recently, his journey was primarily focused on Iraq and the Arab world. Now he
has chosen to focus on change in America.
Overseas Reporting; From Radical Leftie to Conservative
I ask what advice he would give a freelance journalist? Ayad says, “Try as much as
possible to line up things before you go.” He was one of the early bloggers. Ayad adds, “I
was I saw somewhere listed as one of the top conservative blogs in the country.” He
caught my incredulous look and I commented, And we’ll be discussing how you went
from. . .” Ayad completing my thought, “. . . from radical leftie to conservative.”
Leaving the Tribe: Breaking Up With Palestinians and Arabs
Ayad explains why he left Jerusalem, “I started my split with Palestinians and Arabs when I
was there. In hindsight, I was a warrior for the Arab tribe throughout my life. Of course, I
was in Jerusalem working with Palestinians. In 1980, Saddam hanged the Iranian-British
journalist Farzad Bazoft, and Palestinians were actually cheering Saddam on. And in May
of ’90, Saddam threatened to burn half of Israel. I remember I was in a friend’s apartment
when I saw that, this woman Najat, who worked as a nurse in Hadassah Hospital’s bone
marrow cancer unit (ENTHUSIASTICALLY) was, like, all right.” The nurse was an Israeli
Palestinian from Galilee. Ayad adds, “Seeing all these Palestinians around me they knew
I was Iraqi I walked across the city, through the Old City, every day we lived in the
Armenian quarter I’d stop, every morning to get juice, have some hummus. So people
would always ask me when is Saddam going to send his ‘binary’ the chemical weapons
were called ‘the binary weapons.’ In Gaza, they were calling the long loaves of bread
‘Saddam’s rockets’ I’d go to Gaza once month. I’m walking through the market in
Jerusalem, they would call out to me, ‘Saddam, Saddam!’ I would say, ‘I have nothing to
do with that criminal that butcher.’ That’s when I started to split.” This was the start of
the philosophical shift from the left.
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