Saparchiwin (I am a Traveller)
Saparchiwin, which means 'I am a Traveller' is Amer Hamza's first and only novel to date, yet it has become an instant best seller and now, for the first time, this novel is being available outside of Iraq.
Sarqaya is publishing the second revised edition with a new preface by the author and an introduction by Nineb Lamassu.
This novel is based on the life and culture of Dora, a Baghdad suburb, which until the very fall of Saddam in 2003 was a largely Assyrian inhabited suburb. Hamza bases his Saparchiwin on the Assyrian quarter of Dora - Ḥay el-Aṯuriyeen.
After the fall of Saddam an infighting ensued between the Sunni and Shiite militias and Dora became the battle ground for this conflict. The Assyrians, as Christians, were caught between the crossfires of these two opposing sides, which were unified in one thing only: to drive out the Assyrians and make sure no Assyrians were left in Dora.
Hamza, who was born and raised in Dora and grew up among the Assyrians found himslef estranged and alienated when Dora was emptied of its Assyrian inhabitants: his beautiful Assyrian Quarter was just not the same anymore - he found himself alianated without all of his Assyrian friends and neighbour. He roamed around streets longing for the Assyrian songs heard from the neighbours next door, desperately searching for his Assyrian friends whom he used to meet on the street corner; and shutting off the current bustling commotion with the hope of hearing the young girls chatting in Assyrian as they walked home from school. Hamza wrote this novel with this intense nostalgic feeling, Saparchiwin is basically Hamza's Hiraeth reduced to writing and taken the form of an astonishing novel.