Karen Dabrowska


Latest updates:

• India page updated with full report of 2023 visit

• Ruptured Domesticity: Mapping Spaces of Refuge in Iraq Exhibition

• Book Review - Wounded Tigris - Leon McCarron

• Convergence between Islam and Christianity

• Taiz: Shining the light on need through the lens of coffee

South Yemen: Gateway to the World?


South Yemen: Gateway to the World?

I wrote most of this book with Dr Abdul Galil Shaif. South Yemen: Gateway to the World? tells the story of South Yemen and answers the question could it be a gateway to the world.

The book traces the history of the country from the struggle for independence from the British which was gained in 1967. The first part provides an insight into the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen, the first and only socialist state in the Arab world its achievements - the emancipation of women, redistribution of land to the people, an impressive mass literacy programme - and its demise due to internecine struggles in the Yemeni Socialist Party. In 1990 South and North Yemen united but the southerners were discriminated against by the northern regime and in 1994 fought a second war for independence. They were defeated and until the Houthi coup in 2014 were second class citizens in a state which exploited their resources and marginalised their people. Another struggle for independence is now being waged as the southerners cannot live in one state with the fundamentalist Houthi regime which controls more than 80 percent of the north.

Format: Soft cover & E book

Pages: 220

Size: 21.59 x 1.45 x 27.94 cm

ISBN: 978-1-6655-9314-4

Publisher: Author House

Publication date: 7th February 2022

Price: £20.00 / $31.64 (softcover)

Available from Author House

Mohamed Makiya: A Modern Architect Renewing Islamic Tradition


Mohamed Makiya: A Modern Architect Renewing Islamic Tradition

‘Makiya was Baghdad and Baghdad was Makiya.’ These words sum up the life of one of the Middle East’s most famous architects. Mohamed Makiya’s career spanned seven decades and included projects in more than ten countries. He was a master of incorporating traditional and classical styles into modern architecture. For Makiya, the continuity of tradition as a ‘living dimension’ was the justification for his work.

Makiya was revered as a teacher of architecture in Iraq, where he set up the first Department of Architecture at Baghdad University in 1959. Makiya was also a promoter of Iraqi art, which he displayed at his Kufa Gallery in London that was set up to build a bridge between the East and the West. This compelling biography reveals the life of a visionary who achieved remarkable feats in Iraq and whose philosophy and humanity crossed all borders and cultures.

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 272

Size: 142 x 222 mm

ISBN: 978-0-86356-416-1

Publisher: Saqi Books

Publication date: 13th July 2021

Price: £20.00 (hardcover) preorder

Available from Foyles

FOSY Video Conference Booklet


The Case For Southern Statehood – video conference proceedings

I helped organise the international online conference on the case of southern Yemen statehood and edited the booklet of the conference proceedings.

Pages: 44

Size: 148 x 210 mm

Price: Free

PDF available at FOSY Publications

Directory of Muslim and Arab communities in London - front cover
Directory of Muslim and Arab communities in London - back cover


Directory of Muslim and Arab communities in London

[Awaiting publication]

The plurality of the many refugee and immigrant community groups making Britain their home creates within British society a vibrant mixture of ideas, ideologies, cultures, customs and aspirations. Suzanne Muna, author of Now We are Here, a survey of the Iraqi community, points out that immigrant communities from different nations have separate, unique and complex identities. As with the host society, the identities of immigrant communities are dynamic, changing structures which develop and evolve over time.

This directory provides an introduction to London’s Muslim and Arab communities. There is a brief history of each community, a profile of an interesting individual from that community and a list of community organisations.

Gulan 0
Gulan 1


Road Through Kurdistan

I edited the catalogue for this exhibition.

Road through Kurdistan featured artworks and artefacts relating to Kurdish history, identity, persecution and cultural destruction by ISIS, from an eclectic group of international artists:

Behjat Omer Abdulla, Baldin Ahmad, Osman Ahmed, Rushdi Anwar, Khadija Baker, Niaz Bayati, Ali Raza Garmiany, Bahram Hajo, Rebeen Hamarafiq, Hemn Hamid, Mariwan Jalal, Azad Karim Mohammed, Rozhgar Mustafa, Daro Ola, Rebwar Saed, Piers Secunda, Richard Wilding and Hozan Zangana.

The exhibition marked the 100th anniversary of post-WWI peace treaties signed by the imperial powers which created the modern borders between Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria, denying the Kurds an independent state. It took its name from a book written by the New Zealand engineer A.M Hamilton. In 1928, Hamilton was commissioned by the British administration that then controlled Iraq to build a road from Erbil through the mountains and gorges of Kurdistan to the Persian frontier.

O Daughter of Babylon: Journey of an Iraqi Patriot and What Chilcot Didn’t Say


O Daughter of Babylon: Journey of an Iraqi Patriot and What Chilcot Didn’t Say

Author: Riad El-Taher

I transcribed Riad’s memoirs which were subsequently incorporated into this book.

In acknowledgements and remarks Riad said:

My special thanks go to Karen Dabrowska, a journalist, whom I have known for many years. She suggested this book to me during her visit on my first night at Wandsworth prison and she typed the first draft. Without Karen’s encouragement I wouldn’t have embarked on this project. She not only provided me with a lifeline, but gave me a task through which I could express my beliefs and utilise my time constructively. Writing had the additional advantage of distracting me from the mindless and non-stop TV watched by my cell mates.

The book thus began its existence as handwritten notes which I posted to Karen. After my release I dictated the remainder of the original manuscript onto a Dictaphone from which she transcribed it.

Format: Hardcover & paperback

Pages: 460

Size: 152 x 229 mm

ISBN: 978-1-78955-322-2

Publisher: New Generation Publishing

Price: £23.99 (hardcover), £17.99 (paperback)

Available from Amazon

Iraq: The Ancient Sites and Iraqi Kurdistan

August 2015

Iraq: The ancient sites & Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraq is a country with a rich culture. Ancient sites such as Babylon and Ur, the stunning architecture of the country’s mosques, the natural beauty and wildlife of the Marshes and beautiful Iraqi handicrafts create a myriad of attractions to inspire even the most seasoned traveler. This brand-new edition of Iraq gives up-to-date travel information and also informs the armchair traveler about the history and exciting archaeological prospects of this ancient land.

The authors, Geoff Hann, Karen Dabrowska and Tina Townsend-Greaves, bring their considerable knowledge and understanding of Iraq to provide all the practical and background information needed to explore this country and to get the most out of your trip: advice on cultural awareness and religious sensitivity in the context of Iraqi history, along with in-depth coverage of what to see and where to go make this an invaluable guide.

Book launch

On 22nd September, Karen gave a presentation launching the book, Iraq: The ancient sites & Iraqi Kurdistan, as part of an Open Discussions/Gulf Cultural Club meeting entitled Reforming Iraq; Prospects and challenges.

To read a transcript of the discussion, click here.

Format: Paperback

Size: 135 x 216 mm

ISBN: 978-1-84162-488-4

Price: £17.99

Available from Bradt Travel Publishers

Contact: Deborah.Gerrard@bradtguides.com

Telephone: +44 01753 893 4444

Melancholy Memories: Foreign Dreams - a collection of short stories


Melancholy Memories: Foreign Dreams – a collection of short stories

An Iraqi exile who worked for the CIA but became disillusioned with the Western intervention in his country, an Islamic scholar who took up residence in Turkey and murdered her lover’s wife, a safari guide cum tarot reader whose move to London was a breakfast in hell rather than the new dawn he dreamed of – these are just some of the colourful characters in Karen Dabrowska’s first collection of short stories. The characters in all eleven stories live in London but their lives are shaped by experiences abroad and dreams of a better life outside Europe.

Format: Perfect bound softcover

Pages: 115

Size: 140 x 216 mm

ISBN: 978-1-47710-557-3

Price: $22.38

Available from Xlibris

Telephone: +1-888-795-4274

The Libyan Revolution: Diary of Qadhafi’s Newsgirl in London

January 2012

The Libyan Revolution: Diary of Qadhafi’s Newsgirl in London

The Libyan revolution has been extensively covered by the international news media since its inception to the toppling of Qadhafi’s regime. But how did the regime’s media react to events?

Karen Dabrowska was the London correspondent of the official Libyan news agency, JANA, and was in the eye of the storm monitoring the media and covering events in London. Perhaps the only Westerner working in a Libyan government institution she kept a diary from the start of NATO’s bombing campaign until the ousting of Qadhafi’s regime.

The diary describes what is was like working for the Libyans, the office politics, the mentality of the officials and the articles she wrote. The era of government news agencies may be coming to an end. This book provides a unique perspective on the Libyan revolution.

Format: Perfect bound softcover

Pages: 272

Size: 127 x 203 mm

ISBN: 978-1-4678-8085-5

Price: £12.95

Available from Author House

Telephone: 0800 197 4150

Into the Abyss: Human Rights violations in Bahrain and the suppression of the popular movement for change


Into the Abyss: Human Rights violations in Bahrain and the suppression of the popular movement for change

Bahrain is a country with a troubled past and an uncertain future. Throughout its recent history the Shia majority numbering some 70 percent of the population have been seeking more rights from a Sunni monarchy which conquered the island in 1783.

It was inevitable that the reverberations of the Arab Spring and the toppling of the dictators in Egypt and Tunisia would reach the Gulf where autocratic rulers have been entrenched for centuries. In February 2011, after bloody clashes, protesters seized Pearl Square in the capital Manama and stayed there for weeks.

Bahrain’s monarchy could have learned some valuable lessons from Morocco where the 47-year-old ruler, Mohammed VI called for a separation of powers, including an independent judiciary, a more even distribution of governance across the country’s provinces and a series of amendments that would enshrine individual liberties, human rights and gender equality.

Instead it chose the path of repression and when it could not subdue the mass movement for changed in called in the Saudi army to help quell the protests. Human rights groups reported that in a country of 527,000 citizens 34 people were killed, more than 1,400 arrested and as many as 3,600 were fired from their jobs. Four people died in custody after torture in what Human Rights Watch called “a systematic and comprehensive crackdown to punish and intimidate government critics and to end dissent root and branch.”

This book charts Bahrain’s violations of human rights since the island has been ruled by the Al-Khalifa family focusing on the suppression of the mass movement for change since February 2011 and the Saudi occupation which began on March 15th after the Al-Khalifa’s called on the Saudis for assistance in quelling the protests.

Format: Paperback

Pages: 163

Available gratis from Abrar Foundation

Please e-mail: abrarhouse@hotmail.com

Telephone: +44 207 724 3033

Iraq: Then & Now: A Guide to the Country and Its People


Iraq: Then & Now: A Guide to the Country and Its People

Unlike other publications since the downfall of Saddam’s regime, Iraq: Then & Now traces the history of the country from ancient times until the present. Supplementary boxes, many written by Iraqis themselves, reflect on life today as compared with life in Saddam’s Iraq and even earlier, describing their experiences, hopes, fears, ambitions and visions for the future. The book self-consciously avoids making any judgement on the political debate surrounding the 2003 war and subsequent occupation; instead it presents the varying views, and offers a rounded, balanced picture.

Published to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the change, this guide to the country and its people, provides information on Iraq’s culture and archaeology, the south, Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle. The northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan stands apart as a success story and the travel appendix provides essential information for the increasing numbers of visitors to this region.

Format: Paperback

Price: Various (see Amazon)

Publisher: Bradt

Iraq: The Bradt Travel Guide


Iraq: The Bradt Travel Guide

Modern Iraq is under threat from every quarter, politics play havoc with ordinary lives and sanctions cut deep. However, today’s rare visitors are met with a broad hospitality that belies years of deprivation. And behind the politics is a land as rich in history and legend as any in the Middle East. Here is Mesopotamia, where three great religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - were born. Here are the ancient cities of Ur and Nineveh, and the site of Babylon.

Format: Paperback

Pages: 280

Size: 135 x 216 mm

ISBN: 1-84162-027-0

Price: Various (see Amazon)

Publisher: Bradt

Bahrain Briefing: The Struggle for Democracy (December 1994 – December 1996)


Bahrain Briefing: The Struggle for Democracy (December 1994-December 1996)

The tireless campaign for the restoration of democracy and parliament and the abolition of the notorious State Security Law which entitles the detention of political suspects for three years without charge or trial has continued since 1975 when parliament was abolished by the Al Khalifa dynasty, and has embraced all sectors of Bahraini society.

Format: Paperback

Pages: 115

ISBN: 1-901807-00-2

Price: Various (see Amazon)

Publisher: Colourmast

Saddam’s Killing Fields: The Destruction of the Marshlands of Southern Iraq


Saddam’s Killing Fields: The Destruction of the Marshlands of Southern Iraq

Commencing in the summer of 1991, Baghdad’s plans to destroy the marshes have proceeded systematically, stage by stage, involving the allocation of considerable financial, human and military resources. Eyewitnesses described how artillery initially bombed a district where engineering works were planned to clear the local population. Troops then moved in to secure the area for the engineers.

Pages: 150

Publisher: Briefing paper for the Iraqi opposition

This publication is no longer available

Addis Ababa: A pocket guide to Ethiopia’s capital city


Addis Ababa: A pocket guide to Ethiopia’s capital city

Few generalizations can be made about this unique African city. Above all, it is a place of contrasts where the traditional and modern co-exist happily together. Modest huts and skyscrapers, donkeys and four-wheel-drive vehicles, tourists and peasants are all part of the amazing cultural jigsaw puzzle, whose numerous different pieces come together as Addis Ababa.

Format: Paperback

Pages: 128

Price: Various (see Amazon)