Publishing House: Arab Scientific Publishers

Publication Year: 2017

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 147

Taher Al-Zahrani‘s novel ‘Jangi’ presents a gripping narrative of Arab and Saudi ‘mujahideen’ who were pursued, captured, and killed by the United States – a superpower feared by governments worldwide and adversaries like Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and Osama Bin Laden. Despite the U.S.’s capability to topple Iraq in mere days, it struggles to control individuals seeking refuge in a mud fortress (Jangi) and a five-meter-deep underground shelter.

The novel, though concise, showcases Al-Zahrani’s bravery in seamlessly navigating different narrative styles within the text, maintaining fluidity and grace. It unfolds across three main chapters, transitioning from a dramatic, realistic beginning to a descriptive, documentary middle, and culminating in a poignant epistolary finale that vividly conveys love and longing.

Al-Zahrani employs simple yet impactful language, eschewing ornate phrases often favored for social media quotations. His reference to seminal prison literature works like ‘East of the Mediterranean’ and ‘That Smothering Night’ enhances reader empathy, drawing on collective literary memory despite not explicitly detailing arrest conditions.

Today, discussing Jangi and the Afghan jihad has become taboo for a generation shaped by YouTube influencers and TikTok dancers. Al-Zahrani, years ago, lamented the shift in perceptions, but now we face an era of organized brainwashing. The novel invites us to step down from our ivory towers and immerse ourselves in this story, remembering the martyrs and victims of Jangi with compassion and seeking forgiveness for them.

‘Jangi’ not only recounts a historical episode but also serves as a reminder of the shifting landscapes of ideology and memory in contemporary society. It is a call to remember and reflect on the complexities and human costs of conflicts often forgotten or ignored in the digital age.

Read More About Taher Al Zahrani

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