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Farewell, Babylon

Naim Kattan




Coming of age in Jewish Baghdad


Farewell, Babylon is a memoir of a lost world, Bahgdad, the magical city in which Iraq's Kurds, Bedouins, Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together in a rough sort of harmony. The Iraqi Jewish community dates back 2500 years to Biblical Babylon, but by Kattan's childhood in the 1940's anti-semitism was on the rise and Nazi-sympathisers were threatening Baghdad's Jewish community.


Naim Kattan takes readers into the heart of Baghdad's then-teeming Jewish community. His Baghdad is a hot, quarrelsome city beset in equal parts by fear and desire. Its politics are frantic, its street life a mystery. Kattan evokes the colonial, Muslim-dominated society of his childhood and leaves an unforgettable portrait of Baghdad's exoticism, and the political forces that shape it today.


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