Description : Covering a period from the late eighteenth century to today, this volume explores the phenomenon of urban violence in order to unveil general developments and historical specificities in a variety of Middle Eastern contexts. By situating incidents in particular processes and conflicts, the case studies seek to counter notions of a violent Middle East in order to foster a new understanding of violence beyond that of a meaningless and destructive social and political act. Contributions explore processes sparked by the transition from empires — Ottoman and Qajar, but also European — to the formation of nation states, and the resulting changes in cityscapes throughout the region.
Description : Violence has been a central political issue in many Middle Eastern countries during the past two decades, either episodically (Syria, Iran) or continually (Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel/Palestine). This groundbreaking new study sheds light on the dynamics of this phenomenon by going beyond factors usually cited as the root causes - economy, religion, and culture - and investigating the political structure that actually triggers this violence. Violence seems to be treated by some groups during their initial stages as a rational instrument for changing contested power relations. In their later stages, these movements often weaken and spawn fragmented and privatized forms of violence - warlords are one example - and in some situations the violence metamorphoses into nihilistic, sacrificial, and/or messianic forms.
Description : "... constitutes an important and much needed intervention on the themes of memory and violence in Middle East studies." —Lisa Hajjar, University of California, Santa Barbara The Middle East and North Africa form a region united by a common history of armed conflict and repeated international efforts at producing a lasting peace. This interdisciplinary collection explores the connections between memories of past violence and the violence of present memories, the context for all contemporary efforts at conflict resolution and reconciliation. The contributors examine the 1954–1962 Franco-Algerian war, the 1975–1991 Lebanese civil war, and the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict as interconnected struggles that outline national polities, infranational fractures, and transnational political connections. Insofar as national unity has been constructed on the contested claims of sacrifice and martyrdom, the legacy of violence has remained inscribed at the heart of political identity. The case studies point to the failure of current attempts to officially forget past conflicts, at the same time indicating local successes in commemorative actions that forge at least partial peaces between individuals and groups.
Description : Gender and Violence in the Middle East argues that violence is fundamental to the functioning of the patriarchal gender structure that governs daily life in Middle Eastern societies. Ghanim contends that the inherent violence of gender relations in the Middle East feeds the authoritarianism and political violence that plague public life in the region. In this societal sense, men as well as women may be said to be victims of the structural violence inherent in Middle Eastern gender relations. The author shows that the varieties of physical violence against women for which the Middle East is notorious—honor killings, obligatory beatings, female genital mutilation—are merely eruptions of an ethos of psychological violence and the threat of physical violence that pervades gender relations in the Middle East. Ghanim documents and analyzes the complementary roles of both sexes in sustaining the system of violence and oppressive control that regulates gender relations in Middle Eastern societies. He reveals that women are not only victims of violence but welcome the opportunity to become perpetrators of violence in the married female life cycle of subordination followed by domination. The mother-in-law plays a crucial role in supporting the structure of patriarchal control by stoking tensions with her daughter-in-law and provoking her son to commit sanctioned violence on his wife. The author applies his deep analysis of gender and violence in the Middle East to illuminate the motivational profiles of male and female political suicidalists from the Middle East and the martyrological adulation that they are accorded in Middle Eastern societies.
Description : This book examines the issue of gender and violence in the Middle East and North Africa. Drawing on case studies across the region, the authors examine the historical, cultural, religious, social, legal and political factors affecting the issue.
Description : Writing has come face-to-face with a most crucial juncture: to negotiate with the inescapable presence of violence. From the domains of contemporary Middle Eastern literature, this book stages a powerful conversation on questions of cruelty, evil, rage, vengeance, madness, and deception. Beyond the narrow judgment of violence as a purely tragic reality, these writers (in states of exile, prison, martyrdom, and war) come to wager with the more elusive, inspiring, and even ecstatic dimensions that rest at the heart of a visceral universe of imagination. Covering complex and controversial thematic discussions, Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh forms an extreme record of voices, movements, and thought-experiments drawn from the inner circles of the Middle Eastern region. By exploring the most abrasive writings of this vast cultural front, the book reveals how such captivating outsider texts could potentially redefine our understanding of violence and its now-unstoppable relationship to a dangerous age.
Description : More than a decade before Israel's New Historians revolutionized the study of Israeli history, English journalist David Hirst wrote The Gun and the Olive Branch, a classic, myth-breaking general history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hirst, former Middle East correspondent of the Guardian, traces the origins of the terrible conflict back to the 1880s to show how Arab violence, although often cruel and fanatical, is a response to the challenge of repeated aggression. The Gun and the Olive Branch is an absorbing, potentially controversial, history of the Middle Eastern conflict that is indispensable to anyone with an interest in world politics and by partisans of both sides. This classic and controversial account of the origins of the Middle East conflict returns to print updated with a lengthy introduction that reflects on the course of recent Middle Eastern history—especially the abortive Israeli-Palestinian peace process and 9/11.
Description : The Middle East today is characterized by an astonishingly bloody civil war in Syria, an ever more highly racialized and militarized approach to the concept of a Jewish state in Israel and the Palestinian territories, an Iraqi state paralyzed by the emergence of class- and region-inflected sectarian identifications, a Lebanon teetering on the edge of collapse from the pressures of its huge numbers of refugees and its sect-bound political system, and the rise of a wide variety of Islamist paramilitary organizations seeking to operate outside all these states. The region's emergence as a 'zone of violence', characterized by a viciously dystopian politics of identity, is a relatively recent phenomenon, developing only over the past century; but despite these shallow historical roots, the mass violence and dispossession now characterizing Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and Iraq have emerged as some of the twenty-first century's most intractable problems. In this study, Laura Robson uses a framework of mass violence - encompassing the concepts of genocide, ethnic cleansing, forced migration, appropriation of resources, mass deportation, and forcible denationalization - to explain the emergence of a dystopian politics of identity across the Eastern Mediterranean in the modern era and to illuminate the contemporary breakdown of the state from Syria to Iraq to Israel.
Description : This book explores violence in the public lives of modern Middle Eastern cities, approaching violence as an individual and collective experience, a historical event, and an urban process. Violence and the city coexist in a complicated dialogue, and critical consideration of the city offers an important way to understand the transformative powers of violence—its ability to redraw the boundaries of urban life, to create and divide communities, and to affect the ruling strategies of local elites, governments, and transnational political players. The essays included in this volume reflect the diversity of Middle Eastern urbanism from the eighteenth to the late twentieth centuries, from the capitals of Cairo, Tunis, and Baghdad to the provincial towns of Jeddah, Nablus, and Basra and the oil settlements of Dhahran and Abadan. In reconstructing the violent pasts of cities, new vistas on modern Middle Eastern history are opened, offering alternative and complementary perspectives to the making and unmaking of empires, nations, and states. Given the crucial importance of urban centers in shaping the Middle East in the modern era, and the ongoing potential of public histories to foster dialogue and reconciliation, this volume is both critical and timely.