MIDDLE EAST

Did Jalal Talabani write his memoirs?

After decades of witnessing military and political fighting - the latter more fiercer - the Iraqi-Kurdish, or Kurdish-Iraqi leader, Jalal Talabani, passed away.

This political tribal leader, the descendant of the influential Talabani clan, is a  legend among many who are alive today.

He had many priorities, including being the first Kurdish president, aware of his Kurdish nationalism and its politicization, who then followed it up by being the President of the Republic of Iraq.


The great leader Talabani, together with Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan region, played a dramatic role in the Iraqi-Kurdish and non-Iraqi movement.

Unlike Mam Jalal (meaning uncle Jalal in Kurdish) who was close to the Iranian neighbor, Barzani was not. Some, for personal and political reasons, claim this was due to the closeness of Sulaymaniyah - a Talabani party stronghold -   to Iran geographically.

Others claim it was due to cultural variation and disposition between Naqshbandi and Qadriya, and the social, Kurdish-style  leadership which crosses paths with the traditional Sufi path.  

Turbulent years 

Jalal Talabani, known for his niceties and wittiness, left after turbulent years. Even on the day of his departure – a war had ignited between Shiite Baghdad this time and Erbil, on the impact of the great independence referendum.

After the news of Mam Jalal’s death, I remembered a news story published in March 2009, that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said according to Iranian Mehrabad agency: “I am not planning to continue as president. At the end of this year, my term will end and I hope to retire. I’ll return home and I’ll have time to write my memoirs.” At the time, I wrote wishing that he would have the time for this majestic matter. I wrote how his memoirs would illuminate the darkness of political ignorance in Arab and Kurdish referrals in history.

Mashari Althaydi



After the news of Mam Jalal’s death, I remembered a news story published in March 2009, that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said according to Iranian Mehrabad agency: “I am not planning to continue as president. At the end of this year, my term will end and I hope to retire. I’ll return home and I’ll have time to write my memoirs.”  

At the time, I wrote wishing that he would have the time for this majestic matter. I wrote how his memoirs would illuminate the darkness of political ignorance in Arab and Kurdish referrals in history.

I don’t know whether Mam Jalal found the time to write before his illness in 2012 or not.

The politicians of the region are poor in writing memoirs and enlightening their followers about what their predecessors have done. As I said before, the art of memoir writing, is an ‘intrusive’ art in our culture.  

Memoirs 

As such, only a few memoirs are classified as per Western standards. Some of these include Saad Zaghloul’s memoirs, the most notable Egyptian politician before Abdul Nasser. Egyptian historian Abdul Azim Ramadan wrote an entire series about him which begins from 1987 and was published in several parts.

Zaghloul’s memoirs are considered to be  one of the most important political memoirs because they were written on a daily basis for his personal use, not for publication, and thus are not ‘memories’ like those written by most Arab politicians after the event and with cold nerves. He did not refrain from writing about his financial crises, marital differences, and even gambling.

At the time, I wrote: “Mr. Jalal Talabani, I hope you will keep your promise and write your memoirs, with all your honesty and clarity, in hopes that you put forth a good deed for those hesitant politicians.”

May he rest in peace.

This article is also available in Arabic.

__________________
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 4 October 2017 KSA 18:49 - GMT 15:49
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
Top
BREAKING NEWS

Send to a friend

Close
Did Jalal Talabani write his memoirs?
Friend's name:
Friend's Email:
Sender's name:
Sender's Email:
Captcha Code
How are we doing?
X

How are we doing?

Name Name *
Email Email *
Country Country
Message Message *
Maximum 550 words allowed