Translated from Arabic with introduction and update by Reading A. Dallal
8838 North Central Park Avenue
Illinois 60203 - 1923
Edited by Sheila Dallal
University Press of America,
This is a free translation of the well-known History of the Jews of Iraq by Yusuf Ghanimah with many illustrations.
Excerpt from the book:
In 1949 there was another wave of hangings in Iraq. One of those hanged for political reasons was twenty-year old Sassoon Dallal, uncle of Reading Dallal. The following is a letter that Sassoon wrote to his brother David, the night before his murderous execution:
Sassoon Dallal, A"H
1929 - 1949
It is an enchanting evening. The wind has been blowing steadily the whole day. It suddenly dropped at nightfall. All is still. There is no stir in the air. The world seems fast asleep. I cannot sleep. It is hard to sleep knowing that tomorrow at dawn I will die. Ever since I was arrested, I wanted to write to you. I was not sure of what to say. I was confused and afraid. I was not sure that you would sympathise with my activity and ideas, ideas that could only prove valid where our lives most need them. I was not sure that your academic life in America would make you see objectively the justice and validity of our cause. Tonight knowing that the coming dawn will start my eternal night, I venture to write to you the thoughts and ideas which are teeming in my brain now.
A wave of terror has taken the country; thousands of people are being arrested, tortured and executed. I am not the only one to die tomorrow. There are ten others with me. The people as a whole are persecuted. Life in our country recalls the days when the forces of fascism were marching on murdering thousands of innocent people. I have not lived long enough to enjoy and know what life is. I opened my eyes fighting for a free life and tomorrow at dawn I am dying for the life I never knew. I pray to God that my fight has not been in vain. The forces of reaction cannot rule forever. They have been defeated before by the will of the people and by the same will, they will be defeated in the near future. I am dying tomorrow because I have faith in mankind to master their destiny, which is democracy, peace ,and the perfect life. The forces of reaction that are still murdering people to lengthen the time of their criminal rule are afraid of the future. In the future, they see the shadow of their end. This shadow is perverting their minds. They are insane. They have exhausted their ideas. They are bankrupt in their policies, lies, propaganda, and promises. They are terribly afraid of the wrath of the people. They can rob me of my life, but they cannot change my thinking, which is that of all Mankind. I am free because I know the truth and neither prison nor execution can take away that freedom from me.
Tomorrow at dawn I shall die. Yes, they can end my life and stop me from exposing and fighting them, but with my death, thousands of others will rise against them. We are many, they are the few.
Do not grieve for me, dear brother, instead carry my memory with you and perpetuate the fight, which will glorify the future of all humanity. And always remember that I am not sorry to die. In fact, if I am given once again the chance to live, I would follow the same path. Goodbye to all, and my love to you."
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