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Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising and the Arab World

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"One of the most important books ever written on the state of the modern Middle East." ?Geraldine Brooks, Wall Street Journal
The Iraqi dissident Kanan Makiya brought the attention of the world to the brutality of Saddam Hussein's regime in his powerful 1989 bestseller Republic of Fear. Now, writing for the first time under his own name, Makiya confronts the broad realities of tyranny in the Middle East and the moral failure of Arab and pro-Arab intellectuals to repudiate it.
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Overview

"One of the most important books ever written on the state of the modern Middle East." —Geraldine Brooks, Wall Street Journal
The Iraqi dissident Kanan Makiya brought the attention of the world to the brutality of Saddam Hussein's regime in his powerful 1989 bestseller Republic of Fear. Now, writing for the first time under his own name, Makiya confronts the broad realities of tyranny in the Middle East and the moral failure of Arab and pro-Arab intellectuals to repudiate it.
Makiya first gives us the stories of Khalil, Abu Haydar, Omar, Mustafa, and Taimour—the Arab and Kurdish heroes of this book. Their testimony, revealing the true extent of occupation, prejudice, revolution, and routinized violence, is a compelling example of the literature of witness. He then links these tales of survival to an examination of the Arab intelligentsia's response to Saddam Hussein and the Gulf War, comparing the flood of condemnation of the West with the trickle of protest over Saddam's mass murder campaign against the Kurds.
In his exploration of these "landscapes of cruelty and silence," Kanan Makiya lays out the nationalist mythologies that underlie them. He calls for a new politics in the Arab world—a politics that puts absolute respect for human life above all else.

In 1991, Kanan Makiya, author of the bestselling Republic of Fear, returned to Iraq to investigate allegations of mass murder. The results show that at least 100,000 noncombatant Kurds were killed in 1988 in an operation code-named Al-Anfal. This book is not a historical inquiry into why that happened; it is a passionate plea that the cruelty not be ignored and repeated.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Massing - The New Yorker
“What Emile Zola did for French anti-Semitism and Arthur Koestler did for Soviet totalitarianism, Kanan Makiya now intends to do for Arab nationalism. Sweeping, impassioned, and perturbing.”
Abbas Milani - San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle
“Bold and brilliant. . . . An indispensable book for anyone interested in the politics of the Middle East.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this urgently important, courageous polemic, Iraqui dissident Makiya challenges Arabs and pro-Arab intellectuals to end their collective silence on the represssion carried out against their own people by brutal thugs like Saddam Hussein. Makiya's Republic of Fear (1989), written under the pseudonym Samir al-Khalil, likened Saddam's totalitarianism to Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany. Here Makiya, who is based in Cambridge, Mass., fleshes out those analogies, drawing on his return trip to Iraq in late 1991 to searingly portray ordinary Iraquis and Kuwaitis victimized by the Ba'th regime. He documents the Iraqi army's mass murder in 1988 of some 100,000 Kurdish civilians, a secret genocidal campaign launched by Saddam Hussein. Makiya calls attention to institutionalized cruelty throughout the Arab Middle East: torture in Syria, public beheadings and amputations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwaitis' murder of thousands of Palestinians. Attacking the anti-imperialist rhetoric of Edward Said and Noam Chomsky as simplistic, Mikaya views the Gulf crisis as symptomatic of an ``Arab moral failure'' and envisions an Iraq freed from Saddam Hussein's repressive dictatorship. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Makiya, an Iraqi expatriate, has authored two other significant works under the pseudonym of Samir al-Khalil: Republic of Fear (LJ 4/1/89) and The Monument ( LJ 3/15/91). His premise here is that ``the Gulf War . . . was in essence an Arab moral failure of historic proportions. . . . Something . . . has gone profoundly wrong in the Arab world; Saddam Hussein merely typified and acted it out.'' To illustrate his thesis, Makiya details the dramatic upsurge in deliberate cruelty in Iraq through the recounting of the personal tales of Iraqis who suffered subjugation under Hussein's rule. By evoking the horror of Arab brother humiliating and perpetrating cruel and heinous acts upon Arab brother (and sister, mother, father, son and daughter), the author hopes to compel all of humanity (and Arab intellectuals in particular) to break the silence that permits Hussein to continue his reign. For Middle Eastern collections in academic and large public libraries.-- David Snider, Casa Grande P.L., Ariz.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393311419
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/1994
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
A Note on Transliteration 13
Introduction 15
Cruelty 29
1 Khalil 31
2 Abu Haydar 57
3 Omar 105
4 Mustafa 135
5 Taimour 151
6 Remembering Cruelty 200
Whither Iraq? 215
Silence 231
7 Who Am I? 233
8 New Nationalist Myths 253
9 Landscapes of Cruelty and Silence 284
10 Defining Silence 312
Notes 329
Index 359
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