Just Fire Works

Annah Ashaba's Review Of Just Fire Works, A book Written By Nader Barrak

Annah Ashaba prolific writer and human rights activist.

Uganda Today: Hello here, take a minute!!

I should have made this review earlier but it was overshadowed by many other occurrences.

When I finally got Just Fire Works book, I never put it down till I was done reading it. I am using, “finally,” because the delivery took longer than expected and I had to go pick it myself but that’s a story for another day.

As you take a read, view and reflect on this video above showing how laborious it is to construct but it takes a minute to destroy. Wars are destructive.

I have always wondered how life is like in a war torn area. Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish to experience a war. But you see, earlier on February this year, I woke up to an alert to be ready to run to a bomb shelter in case the missile alarms went off. You know what they say about cowards? Cowards die many times before their actual death. Yes, I died many times during that time.

I was scared to death. I couldn’t stop thinking and imagining how it feels like to be in such a situation for days, months and even years. I wrote short stories about my experience then. I always find solace in the pen. I kept writing like it was my last day on earth. Raw, unedited, and fast written, I sent the stories to two people who were generous enough to publish them in their magazines and online newspapers.

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Inter Religious Conference have severally called on countries involved in conflicts to cease fire and resolve matters through dialogue
When Nader Barrak posted about his then upcoming book, I reached out to him to ask for a copy when it hit the shelves.
I am well aware that there are many books written about wars. But those about  first hand experiences and accounts of war are not as many. It’s understandable though because wars leave untold damage, trauma, and exhaustion. It may be so traumatising to start recounting such tales.

So what is Just Fireworks about?

The book is a first hand account of Nader’s experience in a war-torn Lebanon, his home country. It has a detailed rich history of the Middle East and Lebanon in particular.
In December 2015, there was an attempted coup to overthrow the former President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza. This was after the president had announced that he would run for a third term in office. There were protests against his pronouncement and things got out of hand.
A youthful Nader, his beautiful wife Dorah Mwima and their two children, Ethan and Gabby were living in Bujumbura during that time. The heavy gunfire reawakened Nader’s memories of the civil war in his home country. Where as he was used to the sound of gunfire from his growing up in a war-torn place, he was deeply concerned and worried about his five year old son. He wanted to protect him from having memories of war and violence. He decided to tell him that what they were hearing outside was just fireworks.
The author explicitly describes the governance and civil war(s) in Lebanon. The civil war began way before he was born. His family kept moving from town to town in search for safety. But on some occasions, they would get trapped in the middle of heavy fighting and had to stay in their houses with bullets flying through from all corners. His father was kidnapped and disappeared for three months. A bullet went through his mother’s hair. He witnessed an assassination of an army major. He heard the cries of a helpless wounded soldier who eventually died. A young Nader and his family narrowly survived being buried in rubble when a missile hit while they were moving to a “safer” shelter and so much more.
Wars leave everlasting devastating consequences on communities. Loss of lives, families broken, infrastructure destroyed, untold trauma and suffering. Life gets altered in an instant.
When I read the book, I had follow up conversations with the author. I couldn’t wait to write and share a review. However, each time I tried to write about it, I found it difficult to put my thoughts in words. It takes many loads of courage to write about such an experience.
After a war, there’s hardly any conversation about it. Leaders aren’t held accountable as they should. People are focused on moving on as the author observed that people lock away memories of the war. Children are left to cope with their own traumas. It’s always a sensitive issue to bring up. But the trauma, if left unattended to always catches up with you.
Nader is not only a courageous writer but also a good story teller. When you read the book, it makes you feel like you are watching a movie. Just like a good series that  you can’t help but binge watch, the book gets you glued to turning page by page to read what happens next. The photos attached for every event in question give a vivid image of what’s being talked about. You can touch bullet holes in walls through the book. You can hear the thunderous explosions of missiles. You can see the Israeli fighter jets. You can feel the smoke from explosions up your nose.
This is a good read. And with all the current happenings in the Middle East, it’s a timely read too. It captures Israel, the Palestinian and the Arab-Israeli wars. I highly recommend it for your discernment reading.

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Chris Kato

Uganda Today is a source of analytical, hard and entertaining news for audiences of all categories in Uganda and internationally. Uganda Today cut its teeth in Ugandan media industry with its print copies hitting the streets in October 2014. We are heavily indebted to all our publics and stakeholders who support our cause in one way or the other. To comment on our stories, or share any news or pertinent information, please follow us on: Facebook: Uganda Today Twitter: @ugtodaynews WhatsApp:+256 702 239 337 Email: ugandatodayedition@gmail.com Website: https://www.ugandatoday.co.ug

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