Drawn and Quarterly, October 2016, 304 pages
Cartoonist Sarah Glidden accompanies her two friends―reporters and founders of a journalism non-profit―as they research potential stories on the effects of the Iraq War on the Middle East and, specifically, the war’s refugees. Joining the trio is a childhood friend and former Marine whose past service in Iraq adds an unexpected and sometimes unwelcome viewpoint, both to the people they come across and perhaps even themselves.
As the crew works their way through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, Glidden observes the reporters as they ask civilians, refugees, and officials, “Who are you?” Everyone has a story to tell: the Iranian blogger, the United Nations refugee administrator, a taxi driver, the Iraqi refugee deported from the US, the Iraqis seeking refuge in Syria, and even the American Marine.
"Sarah Glidden’s remarkable Rolling Blackouts adds a new twist to the [graphic journalism] form. Glidden accompanies a team of journalists through Syria and Iraq and her muted watercolours record not only the lives of people in war zones but the way the media interacts with them. Highly recommended."―The Guardian
"An intricate investigation of how the reality of conflict gets filtered through personal, political, and journalistic narrative...This work―quiet but challenging, plain yet beautiful―exemplifies [Glidden's] skillful, sensitive reportage."―Library Journal Starred Review
"Glidden does a brilliant job in chronicling a two-month journey with journalist friends through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq to report stories about the impact of the Iraq War on Middle Eastern inhabitants...The power of Glidden’s narrative is in how it asks fundamental questions about what journalism is, what kinds of stories it tells, and what purpose these stories serve. She also manages to crystallize hours of recorded interviews with the locals into insightful discussions of complex situations."―Publishers Weekly
"Glidden’s clean, spare cartoons take a behind-the-scenes approach."―Harper's Magazine
Beyond Rolling Blackouts
Rolling Blackouts takes you behind the scenes with journalists from the Seattle Globalist as they report from Turkey, Northern Iraq and Syria. Here, you’ll find links to the work by Seattle Globalist journalists referenced in the book as they come up in each chapter as well as a list of stories produced during the reporting trip.
The most involved piece of journalism produced by the Seattle Globalist during the reporting the reporting trip covered in Rolling Blackouts is the feature film, BARZAN. This documentary, covered in chapter five of the book, investigates the story of Sam Malkandi, an Iraqi Kurdish man who fled his country during the Iran-Iraq war, became a refugee with his daughter for almost a decade, and was finally granted asylum in the United States only to be deported under the suspicion that he aided an Al Qaeda operative. To find out more about BARZAN visit the film's website.