These past few years I've been working on my autobiography as a Palestinian refugee and human rights activist from Iraq. Many people have been a part of putting this book together, and I am very grateful. Now it is finished! Publishing a book is expensive, and I would appreciate any contribution you can make.
I was born in 1970. I am a Palestinian artist and human rights activist who was born in Iraq and grew up in Baghdad. Palestinians are an ethnic minority in Iraq who have lived there for sixty years, but have neither citizenship nor freedom. Since 2003, we have been targeted by various militias and have suffered kidnapping, torture, imprisonment and assassination.
In 2005, I led a number of threatened Palestinian families out of Iraq and lived with them in a refugee camp in Syria. I created many paintings in the camp, painting on black velvet because canvas was not available. In 2007, Syrian secret police imprisoned and tortured me and deported me back to Iraq. I fled again, and finally, in April 2008, by a long and difficult process with help from many, arrived in the U.S. to begin a new life.
I have painted and drawn since I was a child. I discovered that art was a world so much larger than the one room which I shared with my parents and twelve siblings. I drew on everything – the windows, the walls, the door – to my mother’s dismay!
After arriving in Boston, I studied painting at the Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. I've showcased my work at various places around Massachusetts. In 2012, I was awarded The Human Rights Award from Curry College.
Thanks to help from the Irish International Immigrant Center, I am now a U.S. citizen, with a wonderful wife and son and a new baby daughter.
Many Americans whom I have met have encouraged me to write this book and share my story. Please donate here to help me publish my book so that I can share my journey with everyone. Feel free to share the link to the fundraiser. If you would like to learn more about me, please visit my website at www.thaerabdallah.com. Thank you!