Windows of the Soul.
My Journeys in the Muslim World
Photography and text by Alexandra Avakian.
National Geographic, Washington, 2008. 208 pp., 150 illustrations., 10x10".
She lived and worked for two years in the Gaza strip, always in Islamic dress, once beaten bloody by Hamas. On three occasions a Palestinian arms dealer tried to recruit her to be a spy. For six terrifying months in Somalia she was pinned down by sniper fire each day on the way to her hotel. She careened across the snowy Tien-Shen Mountains with Islamic fundamentalists in an ancient Lada, only to be detained and tossed out by the Uzbek KGB. All the while, she captured some of the most important stories of our time—the famine in Sudan, the violence in Gaza and Somalia, the daily life of Hezbollah. She traveled extensively with Yasser Arafat as one of the only non-Arab photographers given such access. She studied her Armenian roots in Iran and the Muslim culture in America.
Recounted in gripping words and unforgettable images, Avakian’s remarkable experiences will draw readers into the Muslim world to meet lovers and terrorists, leaders and thieves and everyday people. Her style is always probing, yet compassionate. Given the interest in Muslim culture since the events of 9/11, Avakian’s fascinating photographs and rich personal story will captivate, educate, and linger with us forever.
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