Life and career
Haifa Zangana was born in Baghdad to a Kurdish father from the northern city of Kirkuk and Arabic mother from Karbala. Her family home was always full of relatives from the northern cities. She was seven when the Iraq Revolution of 1958 resulted in the country gaining independence. She was a teenager when the Ba'ath Party assumed power.
In the 1960s, she was part of a protest rally to release the Algerian political prisoner, Jamila Buhrayd. As a young Iraqi growing up in an uncertain environment, she noted that:
"The woman freedom fighter looms large in the Arab world. For us teenagers, it was Jamilah, not a pop-singer nor a super model that served as a role model"
In the early 1970s, as a young activist in the Iraqi Communist Party Haifa was imprisoned by the Baath regime at Abu Ghraib. She was one of a group of female resisters who were imprisoned for distributing leaflets at their university and for attending political meetings. They were captured and tortured and forced to sign confessions, but Zangana managed to escape execution. When she was released from prison, she stayed in Iraq to continue her studies. A.
She graduated from Baghdad University and the School of Pharmacy in 1974. After graduating, she was appointed to manage the Red Crescent's nascent pharmaceutical unit in Dummar, near Damascus. This was a challenging role due to lack of funds. The work required continual movement between Syria and Lebanon.
As a painter and writer she participated in the eighties in various European and American publications and group exhibitions, with one-woman shows in London and Iceland. She is also a frequent commentator The Guardian, and a contributor to European and Arabic publications such as Red pepper, Al Ahram weekly and Al Quds (weekly comment), and is a founding member of the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies and a member of the advisory board of the Brussel’s Tribunal on Iraq.
She draws on her experience of living in exile to inform her artwork and writing.
- City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman's Account of War and Resistance (2008), Seven Stories Press
- Women on a Journey: Between Baghdad and London (2001)
- Keys to a City (2000)
- The Presence of Others (1999)
- Beyond What the Eye Sees (1997)
- Dreaming of Baghdad (2009)
- Through the Vast Halls of Memory (1991)
- The Torturer in the Mirror, co authored with Ramsey Clark, Thomas Ehrlich Reifer, Seven Stories, NY, 2010
- Iraqi Women Hair Braids co-authored with D.U, Dar Fadhaat, (Amman, 2013)
- Arab Women Political Participation, (Arab Unity Studies Centre, Beirut, 2012)
Chapters in books
- "The developing role of colonial feminists in Iraq", in: Arab Feminism, Jean Makdisi, Noha Bayoumi & Rafif Sidawi (eds), I.B.Tauris , 2014
- "Iraq" , in: Dispatches from the Arab Spring, Paul Amar & Vijay Prashad (eds), University of Minnesota Press, 2013
- "Women and learning in the Iraqi War Zone", in: Women, War, Violence and Learning, Shahrazad Mojab (ed.), Routledge, 2010.
- "Abu Ghraib: Prison as a Collective Memory" in: Contested Spaces, ed Louise Purbrick, Palgrave, 2007.
- "Song of Resistance" in:War with No End”, STW & Verso 2007.
- "Behind the mask" in: “Dr Rice in the house”, ed Amy Scholder, Seven Stories, 2007.
- "Democracy Strangled at Birth", in: “Asking we walk”, ed Corinne Kumar, Streelekha, 2007.
- “The three Cyclops of Empire: Targeting the Fabric of Iraqi Society”, in: Empire’s Law, Pluto, Feb- 2006
- “Colonial Feminist: From Washington to Baghdad”, in: Barriers to Reconciliation, Washington D.C University Press, 2006.
- "The Right to Rule Ourselves", in: Not One More Death”, [ A collection of writings against the Iraq war/ occupation], STW and Verso- March 2006.
- "Haifa Facts". stateofnature.org. Retrieved 2007-08-27.
- Zangana, Haifa (2005-08-17). "Chewing on meaningless words". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
- Haifa Zangana
- Zangana, H., City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman's Account of War and Resistance, [Author's Biographical Notes], Seven Stories Press, 2011 [E-book edition], n.p.
- Al-Hassan Golley, N., Arab Women's Lives Retold: Exploring Identity Through Writing, Syracuse University Press, 2007, pp 189-90; Abdel Nasser, T., Literary Autobiography and Arab National Struggles, Edinburgh University Press, 2017, [E-Book edition], n.p.
- Zangana, H., City of Widows: An Iraqi Woman's Account of War and Resistance, [Author's Biographical Notes], Seven Stories Press, 2011; It may be worth noting that this book contains a detailed biographical sketch of the author's resistance activities not summarised here.
- "Questioning the New Imperial World Order"
- Al-Hassan Golley, N., Arab Women's Lives Retold: Exploring Identity Through Writing, Syracuse University Press, 2007, p. 189
- Author page at Verso
- Haifa Zangana Article:Chewing on meaningless words
- Solitude and dream: literature post-9/11, interview with Haifa Zangana, Open Democracy