As Americans went about their daily lives in the 1990s, few could imagine what Iraqi men and women faced under the brutal sanctions imposed by the UN and enforced by the United States. Barbara Nimri Aziz, a frequent visitor to Iraq, saw first-hand what life was like for Iraqis during the long years of the embargo. ""Swimming Up the Tigris"" reveals Aziz's skill as both a journalist and an anthropologist. In the book, she allows ordinary Iraqis to speak directly to us. We learn of the breakdown of Iraq's once exemplary medical system, and of needless deaths as a result of poor healthcare. We hear of deprivations, aerial bombardments, and local efforts to fight an embargo viewed by many as unjust. Drawing on intimate sources inside Iraq, the author reveals disparities between news reports of unfolding events and what Iraqi men and women were actually experiencing in the months preceding the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. By revisiting this critical period, Aziz sheds light on the illegal and questionable tactics used by the United States to destroy Iraq through the sanctions, well before the WMD ruse, and provides context to more fully understand the current failed occupation and worldwide anti-U.S. sentiments.
Barbara Nimri Aziz is a freelance journalist with a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of London. She is a Fulbright Scholar for 2007-08 and the producer and host of ""Tahrir: Voices of the Arab World"" on Pacifica WBAI Radio, New York.