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  • Jinwar and other Stories (3/8/22)

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    Alex Poppe’s characters celebrate the fragile grandeur of living an independent life in the aftermath of violence. Deeply rooted in place, these stories are about identity, hope, and redemption as fierce and flawed women rebuild their lives in the wake of war. The young women sparking through these pages are surprising, funny, and devastating: the essence of womanhood. The title piece, “Jinwar,” is a funny, yet heartbreaking story of an American woman who survived rape in the military, was denied due process, and found herself selling lunches from a truck shaped like a hot dog. In the evenings, she turned on the news to see the Kavanaugh hearings on every channel. Her struggle to rebuild her life takes her across the globe to the Middle East, to Jinwar, an all-female village in Rojava, northeastern Syria. Here, survivors of war, patriarchy, and genocide un-make violence and search for ways to heal. Timely and prescient, Jinwar is a story for the #YesAllWoman world.

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  • The Passionate Spies (3/22/22)

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    The modern Middle East was shaped in conflict between local tribes and Western powers that had crushing, mechanized armies and entitled, obtuse leaders. Against what they perceived as a dense wall of plain stupidity masquerading as real-politik, three British spies threw the power of their idealism and their belief in the humanity of ordinary Arabs. They succeeded in extraordinary ways, and yet paid a heavy price. Two took their own lives. The third raised a son who became a notorious double agent in the Cold War: Kim Philby. Gertrude Bell, Jack Philby, and TE Lawrence show us how to fight wealth and power on one hand and ignorance and violence on the other—how to inject ideals into real world institutions that will improve the lives of ordinary people. Lawrence and Bell accomplished a lot and yet could never do enough and simply could not outlast the national governments who served the interests of first world wealth. Jack Philby, on the other hand, was all too successful. He enabled men in kaffiyehs to become a force in the modern world and to spread their stunning wealth among Arabs—rather than sending it to the West..

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  • Music Has No Boundaries (4/5/22)

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    Told for the very first time – the real story of 93.6 RAM FM, a pioneering English radio station in Palestine/Israel - the building of, in a most difficult geo-political environment, eventual launch, and the impact it made with ‘talk’, by sharing narratives of the other and with ‘music’, by breaking boundaries and unfurling bridges of common ground, at a time when walls of separation were being constructed. Story, which includes author’s return to radio to be the host of the ONLY political talk show that brought both sides to talk on a common platform in a neutral language (English) – a marriage of diplomacy and radio: charting his journey from being an Ambassador to a DJ/Talk show host and eventually a Radio Peace Envoy, is most unique. The story of the huge audience the station built, the positive impact it made, the struggle to remain ‘on air’ and its eventual demise is told for the first time. Selected photographs included. Rising from its ashes is the story of the birth of - Radio Nissa FM, the first women radio station in the Arab world - which today provides a voice to empower women in a male-dominated society in Palestine. .

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  • Kivu (4/26/22)

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    As a young Foreign Service officer, Frederic Hunter was assigned to the Congo in 1963, three years after independence. He expected to encounter heat, jungle, hardship, violence. Instead he found the Kivu, a kind of paradise, nestled among Rift Valley lakes. The climate was benign, the beauty extraordinary. It was peaceful, the people were splendid and got along. He lived in Bukavu, a town that occupied five peninsulas jutting into Lake Kivu. Furthermore, an African king lived atop the nearby green and often fog-bound mountains. This memoir lets you accompany these Kivu adventures. We get to know Hunter’s Number One Congolese colleague, a womanizing rogue. We meet local politicians who all attend a luncheon and discuss strategies for victory in the coming election—seemingly oblivious to the point that they were competing against one another for the post. There are expats: an American academic intoxicated by Africa, a missionary woman who has lost track of time. Hunter’s truck sank in a mud pit at night and he was soon surrounded by a herd of the most dangerous animals in Africa: hippos. Hunter risks more, however, when a local Kivu woman catches his eye and then steals his heart. This memoir is gentle, insightful, and spirited by turns. It offers glimpses of a lost fragment of Africa that has since been overcome by circumstance and conflict. Kivu still lives, but it lives now in memory.

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