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Oh Mary, A Cry of Justice

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Oh Mary is a novel of life and death that depicts living in harmony as Iraqi people choose to endure during the traumatic events of 2003 and beyond. It is a story of sacrifice for avoiding homesick at home, a story of suffering from rootlessness, and searching for identity in the native place. This is not the only novel in which Sinan Anton, the Iraqi Diaspora, refers to unity of religions, unity of communities and conjoint way of worship. Amongst many other novels that Anton writes like: I’jaam, Lonely Pomegranate Tree and Contents, Oh Mary is said to be the story of intimacy, harmony and granting rights of belonging for minority in a place that needs support during hard times.

Yousuf and Maha are the narrators, and hero-heroine respectively who narrate each other’s motives, desires and aspiration for better living and approval of roots in their native place. The story is a mixture of happiness and sadness, past and present, and friendly treatment by natives and savage ill-treatment by extremists who do not belong to; any sect or a specific place at all. The novel is a biography of every citizen lives in that place during that time. It shows how the ‘humanity is above all’ as it represents the existence of human beings who are distinguished from all other living beings. Yousuf stands for Sinan Anton though the latter is abroad during the events of the story. This is because the protagonist’s final death in the Church refers to Anton’s loss of native place for ever and nostalgic reflections. Maha stands for secularity and love for peaceful environment in which all citizens live together regardless of all names that they may be called with. Maha expresses herself after the massacre in the church that she witnesses during the bomb blast and she proves in the television interview that she is able to plug her roots out of the place where she is born just keep silence and peace.

Yousuf, an old Christian citizen of Iraq is very happy with his Muslim close native friend, Sadoon. They attend all worship places, practice different rituals regardless of their religion, and visit each other at home regularly, sharing food and drinks. Their attachment to each other is a symbol of humanity which we all belong to. Despite the difficulties that Iraqi people faced at that time, still intimacy, love, and harmonious living, were all the symbol of their life. Through such hopeful ends covered in his thesis, the writer passes on the idea that hatred and violence do not only affect the opponent but reflect severe harm on oneself too. Oh Mary is the cry of Justice, of redressing for the oppressed minorities from the power of fundamental thinking. It has a divine message states that there are different ways to one God through different religions, but all are one and we believe in.

Azeez Jasim Mohammed, the Head of the Department of English Language and Literature, of Al Zahra College for Women

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