What was the market’s reaction to Jonar Nader’s novel called ‘Z’? The book explores nano technology, bio technology, and chemical technology. It also explores the worst act of terrorism the world could ever see. Jonar went to New Zealand to launch his book, but he was detained in Christchurch. Here, he retells his story. Jonar speaks with Walkley-Award winning journalist Ghassan Nakhoul. This broadcast is spoken in Arabic.
Below is an English transcript of the Arabic interview.
Radio Program ‘The Youth & The Future’.
An interview with Jonar Nader.
Less than two months ago, he issued an English novel filled with mysteries about the world of intelligence and secret weapons. The book title is “Z” and the author is “Jonar Nader”.
Jonar has other books, but this is the first time for him to issue a novel.
Host: Jonar, what are the reactions for the novel so far?
Jonar Nader: I always include my email address in the books that I write, so people are able to send their feedbacks about my books. For this novel, I received emails at 2 and 3 am. I had one reader sending me an email saying: ‘I couldn’t stop reading, it is too late now and I am going to be late for my work’ and another one said: ‘I haven’t read a book for 7 years, but it seems that I going to start reading again because I now think there are books like yours that is worth reading’, so I think the reaction was good.
Host: Were there any negative feedbacks?
Jonar Nader: I was waiting for people to tell me that what I wrote cannot be true, because and based on my experience, I have learned that when you are talking about the future, and what is going to happen in it, then people will think you are crazy.
I always talk about the future, and what I think is going to happen, when there are many people who give lectures and consulting services, and they talk about historical events and information based on what has happened. Listeners think that these people are smart, when what they actually do is telling historical facts that are available and documented. But what is really difficult is asking someone about what is going to happen in Iraq for example, or in technology or in pharmaceutical companies, and everything I talk about, whether in management or in technology, is related to the future, and that is why people finds it difficult to believe it, just like when people didn’t believe it when they were told that we will be able to talk on the phone, or that we will be flying or go to the moon.
The Novel “Z” is about many things people will not believe, but they have to know about, and that is why I included more than 50 opinions of experts in medicine, scientists, ex federal intelligence employees, and the Canadian and American armies.
Someone wrote to me yesterday saying: ‘I liked the book, but I find it difficult to believe it’ I wrote back ‘if you find it difficult to believe, think why ex-intelligence employees talk about all these scary information.
Host (Joking): Did anyone invite you for a cup of coffee? (Referring to intelligence authorities.)
Jonar Nader: Actually I am a very busy man, so no one would be able to have me for coffee unless they kidnap me. Funny thing happens when I am on an airplane, and they announce that that there is going to be a delay, or that the flight has to return, I get scared thinking that someone is looking for me.
Host: So you do think that someone might be after you?
Jonar Nader: Sometimes yes I do. An incident happened Two weeks ago when I arrived to ‘Christchurch’, and I was stopped for 35 minutes for interrogation. They asked ‘What is the reason for your visit?’ I answered them that I came here 100s of times, so why asking me this time? Then I answered that the reason for my visit this time is my book. They asked me ‘What is your book about?’ I answered ‘Terrorism’, so they asked me stupid questions like ‘Where did you go to gather information for your book’, ‘from my travels and from being in war’ I answered, they asked ‘What side were you on? And who did you fight?’ I answered ‘The enemy’ and he kept on trying to find what I meant by ‘Enemy’
At the end I told the guy to stop playing around, and if there is anything specific he wanted to ask me, to just ask.
Another time, I was going to New Zeeland, and there was the issue of the ‘Foot & Mouth’ Disease, when someone sent a message to the prime minister telling her that they have spread that disease and if she didn’t change certain laws, they would spread something else.
Host: And it seems the world cannot take jokes any more.
Jonar Nader: Of course, no one accepts any kind of jokes any more. So yes, I was invited for a cup of coffee many times, but I never found the chance to go.
Host: Alright Jonar, let’s try to summarize the book. It is a long book and we can actually see the movie based on it, actually and before we go on, did you receive any offers to make a movie based on “Z”?
Jonar Nader: I think it is still early for that. There are many people from Romania to Brazil to Russia to Italy, who are currently reading the book, and this thing takes time, especially that no one has that urgency sense to make a movie, the movies we see today were written long time ago, and the contracts for the movies were signed years ago.
Host: Did you receive any offers to translate the novel?
Jonar Nader: Yes and the book actually being read now in Russia, Italy, Brazil and Finland. At the beginning they have to do a market research, because if the book succeeded in the USA that does not necessarily mean that I will succeed in the UK because each country has their own philosophy.
Host: So, the story is about a very clever man who invents a weapon he calls “Zoos”, which is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas that kills human beings within half an hour. After that, the largest pharmaceutical corporations asked to have this gas.
Jonar Nader: Yes, because they need it.
Host: So, what is it that you are trying to tell us about the pharmaceutical corporations?
Jonar Nader: It is not only about the pharmaceutical companies or other companies alone. We think that we live in a society that loves justice and loves technology, and people believe that we are seeking technological innovations for the sake of goodness, but that is not what we are after, we are only after money. That is why, when we discover a new technology, we don’t think of using it to solve the world hunger, or to find sources of clean water for the millions of people dying due to lack of water, or people dying of starvations in certain areas of the world, when a person in the west eats what is enough for 20 people.
If we have the right technology we can solve water, pollution and soil problems, but what happens is that, people shut down the new innovation doors, and actually use legal support to stop people from using it. Corporations are trying to find ways to spread diseases so we always buy medications they produce.
Host: So we remain always in need for them.
Jonar Nader: True. That is called the Micro Economy, when they tell you that you can buy the medication for 5 dollars. When this medication is not really going to cure you, it may even create more problems for you. Just like when you take your care to the workshop to fix a certain problem, and a week later you find out that there is another problem. The same happens in technology when you take a PC for maintenance. I have computers that are dying, and my friends keeps telling me to get them fixed, but my answer is always that I would rather have them die here than send them to the workshop and allow them to create new problems which I don’t know about.
Host: It is known that all medications have side effects, but in this novel you are saying that this gas can kill based on human’s race or color, which I think is fictional.
Jonar Nader: While writing this book, I was trying to have a minor connection between the future and the present, so the people can understand the story, but during the years spent in writing this book, there use to be a new invention every week to the point I was worried that my book will be outdated.
You say that this information is fictional, and I can tell you that 2 weeks ago there was an argument in the states because of a pharmaceutical company attempting to produce a medication specified for the black Americans. And every week there is something new, however, when I write something like this, people say it is unbelievable, although there are signs all around us telling us that it is possible.
There is a section in the book about medical issues, and I have spoken with the best professors in Australia about it, and they all told me, that if someone placed enough effort, they will be able to achieve what I have spoken about in 5 years.
Leonardo Da Vinci said that people will fly one day, and now we do.
Host: The surprise in the book is that there is a chapter removed from the book, and you say that it was removed by the censorship authorities. Was the censorship done by you? Or did you remove it to increase the suspense, or was it really removed?
Jonar Nader: In the past, I use to write for newspapers and magazines, and then I started writing about technical related topics, and I use to say that technical writing is very difficult, because it takes me years in writing a book, in order to check each and every single detail from the right sources. And I use to envy the authors who write stories and novels, because they can control it the way they want.
I then wrote about management, and found out that it also needs research and confirmation. I have always wished that I can write a story where I can write whatever I want without restrictions, so I thought that writing a story is the best thing. However, and just to be on the safe side, I requested the legal advice, who told me there are certain things i cannot write, I told them ‘Burt it is a story”, they said ‘True, but you have to pay attention to details, as in you cannot be describing people or companies in a ways that would appear as if you are referring to certain people or companies. Beside the information that could appear as recruiting protocols for a revaluation’, and actually someone wrote to me saying ‘Are you sure that this book is not a recruiting training’
Host: So, there were people who had objections regarding the book?
Jonar Nader: Yes, of course, because that means that I am touching a sensitive nerve, if I didn’t, no one would care.
Host: You still didn’t tell us about the deleted chapter.
Jonar Nader: It is not really about a chapter, it is about the many thoughts in it. Ideas where removed from many chapters of the book, such as information that might look as if it refers to a certain company or a certain person, or information that would appear as if I am recruiting people. However, I am going to rewrite this chapter independently, but I am still waiting for some legal matters.
All I really want is for people to think of whether such things can actually happen, and I am not trying to accuse anyone of anything.
Many people consider the future as a surprise, even in the business world, you see people surprised of certain events, although signs of these events are all around us for a long time. Like knowing someone who lives a very unhealthily life, anyone can predict that something bad is going to happen to him health wise.
Host: If we look at the book, we will see that you have spoken about the largest pharmaceutical corporations, even if you did not mention their names, it still can look as if you were referring to them. So, are you worried from the legal consequences in this area?
Jonar Nader: There is a legal issue here, but if you looked at the people who had a legal case against Mc Donald, you would see that Mc Donald were the ones who started the legal case when they sued the people standing at the street corners spreading flyers about Mc Donald and obesity in the largest law case in the British History.
For example, If I said that you have stolen 50 dollars, and they are in your pocket, for you to deny this accusation, you need to show the people what you have in your pockets, and that is why I am not worried, because if they want to sue me, they would have to open up to the public, and I don’t think they want to do that. I actually think they would consider killing me an easier option that suing me for 5 years.
Host: It has been a month and a half since the issuance of the book, are you happy so far with the way the book was handled and distributed? And did you expect it to be in the best seller list? And have you prepared for an American version?
Jonar Nader: I don’t write for the best seller list, and even when I want to chose a movie to watch, I don’t chose it based on the awards it has received, I don’t really care much about that. I don’t think that what sells more is better. And in the book writing industries the best books will not necessary sell more, because this is related to publicity and the ability to spend on advertisement, that is why, I don’t consider the sales volume as the standard of success, but the level of people’s interaction with the book.
And as for the United States of America and the UK, I think the book is going to reach there, but it will take time, because there are many people and many auditorium authorities that the book has to go through, and that is why I have to be patient.
In the past, such things used to take a very long time, people died before anyone read their books. Similar things still happen in our days where you need to wait for the people to understand what you are talking about.
Just like when children are not happy with parents’ orders, and the parents then tell them that they will understand when they grow up. I don’t write to have my books made into movies, I write so people can start understanding, and I have to wait for that to happen, then only they will thank me, and it will not make a difference if that happens when I am alive, or after I die.
Host: Thank you for your time Jonar.
Jonar Nader: Thank you Ghassan.
Host: The Author Jonar Nader. With that we end the youth program “The Youth and The Future”.