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To Be a Friend is Fatal

Reading and Discussion with Kirk Johnson. Moderated by Robin Kirk.
November 11th, 2014
5:00 PM


Following his participation in the discussion of Betrayed at the Nasher Museum, Kirk Johnson, founder of The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies, read from his memoir, To Be a Friend is Fataland talked about his work to resettle Iraqi and Afghan civilians who assisted foreign personnel during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The discussion was moderated by Robin Kirk, faculty co-director of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute and Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology.

Listen to more about Kirk Johnson’s story and The List Project on This American Life:

Reviews of the hardcover edition:

Boston Globe, September 13, 2013, reviewed by Rayyan Al-Shawaf.

Neve Gordon on Baghdad Central and To Be a Friend is FatalThe Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind: Talking about Collaborators. Los Angeles Review of Books, Feb. 25, 2014.

Co-sponsored by The Regulator Bookshop and the Durham County Library.


Kirk Johnson


Kirk W. Johnson is the founder of the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies, and the author of To Be a Friend is Fatal: the Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy. Prior to the List Project, Johnson served in Iraq with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Baghdad and then Fallujah as the Agency’s first coordinator for reconstruction in the war-torn city.

Robin Kirk

Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute

Robin Kirk is the Faculty Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute and is a founding member of the Pauli Murray Project. An author and human rights advocate, Kirk directed the Belfast program for DukeEngage in partnership with Healing Through Remembering, an extensive cross-community project dealing with the legacy of past conflict and human rights. She is a lecturer in the Department of Cultural Anthropology. In 2016-2017, she directed a Bass Connections project with undergraduates called Constructing Memory at Duke, which examined how the university embodies its past. A report on its conclusions and recommendations will be released in 2018. Kirk has also written three books, including More Terrible Than Death: Massacres, Drugs and America’s War in Colombia (PublicAffairs) and The Monkey’s Paw: New Chronicles from Peru (University of Massachusetts Press). She is a coeditor of The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University) and coedits Duke University Press’s World Readers seriesAn essayist and award-winning poet, she has published widely on issues as diverse as the Andes, torture, the politics of memory, family life, and pop culture.