The recent war in Syria-Iraq pitted the terror network and proto-state entity known as ISIS (aka ISIL) against various players (including the United States), with differing agendas, in the Middle East. At its peak, the ISIS offensive came close to overrunning Baghdad itself and threatening to change the map of the region for the foreseeable future. In a last-ditch effort to stem this tide, the grand Shia cleric of Iraq issued an edict for every able-bodied man to put themselves in harm’s way. What followed in Iraq – with extensive Iranian logistics and boots-on-the-ground support – was an end game that, to some measure, continues in Syria. The author will read from his time with the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) and speak of their ethos of martyrdom in war.
Salar Abdoh is an Iranian novelist and essayist who has authored The Poet Game and Opium. He has also edited and translated the anthology Tehran Noir, and his last book, 2014, was Tehran At Twilight. He lives in Tehran and New York City where he teaches Creative Writing. His prizes include the National Endowment for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts. His books have been translated in several languages, and his essays and translations have appeared in such publications as Guernica, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Millions, The New York Times, Words Without Borders, Callaloo, La Règle Du Jeu, Bomb, Tablet and Ploughshares. Formerly he was writer for the experimental theater group, Dar A Luz, led by the late Reza Abdoh. And in 2015-16 he was also field correspondent for the National Geographic series, Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS. Currently he serves, as well, as the Deputy Director of the English Department at the City College of the City University of New York.