Press Release (WORD DOC)

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The Pomegranate Gallery presents a book signing party for Hadani Ditmars’ new book, Dancing In
The No-Fly Zone: A Woman’s Journey Through Iraq on Friday, February 3, 2006 at 6:30 pm.
When Hadani Ditmars first went to Iraq in 1997, for the New York Times, she was shocked at what she
saw. Six years of the worst sanctions ever inflicted on a modern nation had brought the people to their knees.
Yet there was so much more to the “cradle of civilization” than misery and suffering. In the midst of despair she
found art, beauty, architecture, music. In September 2003, she returned to Baghdad to seek out the people she had
met over the years traveling to see what had become of them since U.S. “liberation.”
The Globe and Mail says Dancing In The No-Fly Zone is “A wholly
remarkable and exemplary document…written with elegance, wisdom, and
compassionate humor…a unique triumph and a somewhat daunting debut.” Hadani
Ditmars had traveled to Iraq again and again, reporting on every aspect of life there.
In September of 2003, Ditmars returned to Baghdad to seek out the people she had
met over the years and during the invasion. Dancing In The No-Fly Zone: A Woman’s
Journey Through Iraq is her story of that trip, interwoven with tales from her earlier
visits, and of other people she met along the way: actors and artists, mercenaries and
businessmen, street kids and Sufis, even the “king in waiting.” Quill and Quire says,
“Ditmars’ narrative makes fro compelling reading, humanizing the events we read
about in the newspapers and witness on CNN. She reveals the frightening reality of
seeing middle-class life reduced to poverty and the daily terror of life in a war zone.
Readers cannot help but come away from this book empathizing with the trials and
suffering of the Iraqi people.”
As the situation worsens and the violence intensifies, Ditmars spends a miraculous evening with a group
of Iraqis who sing and dance along to a performance of maqam. People who have suffered a great deal, yet can
still dance deserve to have the full depth of their humanity portrayed. This spirit is captured in Dancing In The
No-Fly Zone: A Woman’s Journey Through Iraq. The book has been published by the Olive Branch Press.
Hadani Ditmars is a Canadian journalist whose work has been published in the New York Times, the
Independent, the Globe and Mail, Time, Vanity Fair, and Newsweek and broadcast on BBC and CBC radio and
television. Her Ms. Magazine essay on Iraqi woman has been adopted for several university courses. She has
been reporting from the Middle East since 1992 and has been on assignment in Iraqi six times since 1997.
The Pomegranate Gallery showcases original artistic expressions of peace and hope created by Middle
Eastern artists. It was founded by Oded Halahmy, a prominent Iraqi sculptor and 35-year resident of SoHo.
Exhibitions include innovative artistic expressions of peace in poetry, writing, music, and in contemporary visual
art, contemporary Middle Eastern art & crafts, encouraging all forms of art as a mean of fostering the peace
dialogue. Currently on display Ashes to Art: the Iraqi Phoenix. It is the first chance to view works by leading
contemporary artists of Baghdad. Esam Pasha, one of the artists in the exhibition who Ditmars writes about, will
also be present.
Dancing In The No-Fly Zone is supported in part by the Oded Halahmy Foundation for the Arts, Inc., a
501(c)(3) non-profit cultural organization created to fund original artistic expressions that will promote a greater
cultural understanding of the Middle-East, thereby fostering peace and hope around the world. The Foundation
has supported a number of Middle Eastern writers and poets by bringing their translated books to the American
“Peace for all Iraqi people”