political prisoners

Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

By Ingrid Betancourt

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"Ingrid Betancourt tells the story of her captivity in the Colombian jungle, sharing powerful teachings of resilience, resistance, and faith. Born in Bogota, raised in France, Ingrid Betancourt at the age of thirty-two gave up a life of comfort and safety to return to Colombia to become a political leader in a country that was being slowly destroyed by terrorism, violence, fear, and a pervasive sense of hopelessness.

"In 2002, while campaigning as a candidate in the Colombian presidential elections, she was abducted by the FARC. Nothing could have prepared her for what came next. She would spend the next six and a half years in the depths of the jungle as a prisoner of the FARC. Even Silence Has an End is her deeply personal and moving account of that time. Chained day and night for much of her captivity, she never stopped dreaming of escape and, in fact, succeeded in getting away several times, always to be recaptured.

"In her most successful effort she and a fellow captive survived a week away, but were caught when her companion became desperately ill; she learned later that they had been mere miles from freedom. The facts of her story are astounding, but it is Betancourt's indomitable spirit that drives this very special account, bringing life, nuance, and profundity to the narrative. Attending as intimately to the landscape of her mind as she does to the events of her capture and captivity, Even Silence Has an End is a meditation on the very stuff of life-fear and freedom, hope and what inspires it."

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Mayada: Daughter of Iraq by Jean Sasson

Mayada: Daughter of Iraq by Jean Sasson

She was an educated daughter of the privileged class—granddaughter of two of Iraq’s heroes from its pre-Saddam era. A successful journalist and later owner of a printing business, she seemed to live a more charmed life than most of Iraq’s citizens. But as the door of the women’s prison closed behind her, leaving her virtually entombed, she realized that her sense of security had been nothing more than an illusion, and as one prisoner after another was dragged away to be tortured, she understood the true horror that underlay her world. Mayada: Daughter of Iraq: One Woman’s Survival Under Saddam Hussein is her story as shared with fellow writer Jean Sasson.

Mayada: Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival under Saddam Hussein

By Jean P. Sasson

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"Mayada was born into a powerful Iraqi family. One grandfather fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia. The other is acclaimed as the first true Arab nationalist. Her uncle was Prime Minister for nearly forty years, her mother an important politician. When Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath party seized power, and instituted his reign of terror, Mayada found herself alone in Baghdad, a divorced parent of two children, earning a meagre living printing brochures. Until one morning in August 1999 when she was summarily arrested and dragged to the notorious Baladiyat Prison, falsely accused of printing anti-government propaganda.

"There she was thrown into a cell with 17 'shadow women'. Like latter-day Sherezades, these women passed their days, while waiting for the next interrogation and torture session, telling each other their stories. They were eager to hear Mayada's stories of her privileged former life, of the history of her proud family, of kings and queens, of meetings with Saddam himself. Not only the story of a woman intimately connected to Iraq's cultured, ancient history, this book is a powerful witness to the terror and horror wrought by Saddam on the lives and souls of its ordinary citizens."

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The Voice of Hope

By Aung San Suu Kyi

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“In Burma, while thousands of political prisoners are detained and tortured, and thousands more flee the country to escape poverty and forced labor, a woman of delicate appearance and fierce determination leads her nation's struggle for freedom. They chant her name, ‘Aung San Suu Kyi! Democracy!’ Bringing this story to the world is Alan Clements, an American who spent five years in Rangoon as a Buddhist monk. Over a period of months Clements met with Aung San Suu Kyi at her home, shortly after her release from house arrest in July 1995. Their conversations became The Voice of Hope, Aung San Suu Kyi's first published work since her release.”

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