Armenian Cultural Foundation
to launch "Through the Wall of Fire"

Published: Thursday September 24, 2009

Arlington, Mass. - If every writer's dream is to see his or her manuscript receive attention from a publisher and an audience, Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, the author of Through the Wall of Fire: Armenia-Iraq-Palestine, From Wrath to Reconciliation, could not ask for more. A Fulbright scholar, educator, political activist, and author of numerous articles, Ms. Mirak- Weissbach has received praise for the book even before it hit the bookstores.
The "daughter of two orphans, both victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide," as she begins the introduction of her book, she makes it clear from the outset that the focus of her work is on the viewpoint of the children in three very diverse settings, Armenia (1915), Iraq (2003), and Palestine (1948), who lived through unspeakable horrors, and the trauma they suffered.
The Armenian Cultural Foundation, in collaboration with the Armenian International Women's Association (AIWA), will host a literary journey on Wednesday, October 7, at 7:30 p.m. Mrs. Mirak-Weissbach will share her experience in writing this work. The event is open to the public free of charge, with limited seating.
Unlike many of the authors of memoirs chronicling the horrors of the Armenian Genocide, Mrs. Mirak-Weissbach delves into the deep psychological impact of a catastrophe on the children, drawing on her experience as the child of Armenian parents from the Arabkir region of the Ottoman Empire orphaned during the Armenian Genocide.
Her book is a comparative study of children from three very diverse cultures, Armenia, Iraq, and Palestine, in three different periods in history, and under three very different circumstances: genocide, war, and deportations.
Her work helps the reader understand how hatred, wrath, prejudice, and a thirst for revenge become embedded in the psyche of generations who have undergone the horrible experiences in the hands of their oppressors. In turn she provides hope and believes in the power of dialogue and reconciliation.
Quoting her favorite poet, Dante Alighieri, and seeking guidance in the lines of his masterpiece Divine Comedy, which inspired the title of her book, the author suggests that the only way to achieve peace and harmony is a fundamental shift in the thinking and moral outlook of "both sides."
Through the Wall of Fire, composed of three parts and fifteen chapters, addresses three historical and unhealed wounds which continue to fester and contaminate the souls of generations in three nations: Armenia, Iraq, and Palestine. All three cases continue to be the captives of the geopolitics of the region within the broader chessboard of the "Great Game" played by world powers as the expense of the lives of millions.
The author's purpose in writing this book has been to provide some insights to help achieve reconciliation, which will set free both the oppressor and the oppressed from decades of emotional bondage.
Robert Mirak, author of Torn Between Two Lands, Armenians in America, 1890 to World War I, calls Through the Wall of Fire a "pathbreaking analysis by first hand on the ground, investigations of the traumas of war inflicted on children. It is a compelling read and is recommended to all interested in current geopolitics and humanitarian causes."
Muriel Mirak-Weissbach was born and brought up in Boston. She graduated with honors from Wellesley College in 1965, with a thesis in English literature, and studied as a Fulbright scholar in Italy in 1966. She then earned a graduate degree with honors in English literature at the University of Milan in 1971, and entered a teaching career at that university as well as the Bocconi University in Milan. After many years of teaching, she began political activity dedicated to establishing a new, just economic order based on economic cooperation among sovereign nations.

Ms. Mirak-Weissbach has specialized in political, economic, and cultural developments in the Arab and Islamic world. She has travelled extensively to many countries of the region, and has presented papers to conferences and seminars, on economic development policy and cultural dialogue, in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Yemen, and Iran. Following the 1991 war against Iraq, she led a humanitarian aid effort (the Committee to Save the Children in Iraq), which brought her into contact with leading political figures in Iraq, as well as in the United Nations.
She has published hundreds of articles in several political and cultural journals on topics related to development policy, dialogue between Christianity and Islam, and political developments in the Arab and Islamic world. In recent years, she has also written on the Iranian nuclear program, based on interviews with Iranian officials. Since August 2007 she has been an independent journalist, and publishes regularly in online publications, like as well as a German publication, Arab Forum. One particular area of interest for Ms. Mirak-Weissbach is the contribution of the Islamic renaissance to the European renaissance. She has recently done work on the impact of Persian poetry in Germany, especially through the translations of Friedrich Rueckert. She has also written on the deciphering of ancient Persian cuneiform, as well as of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. She lives in Germany with her husband, also a journalist.

The public is invited to meet Ms. Mirak-Weissbach on October 7 at 7:30 p.m. and journey with a scholar and political activist through her thought-provoking book. connect:


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