Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression / Edition 2

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The struggle for independence by minorities in the Middle East (those people who are non-Arab or non-Muslim) is affecting the political climate around the world. War and terrorism are threatening the safety of many minority communities and repression of minorities still remains standard state policy in some countries.

This updated and revised edition of the 1991 original provides a wealth of historical and political detail for all the indigenous peoples of the Middle East. Pressed to persist in a threatening environment, these minorities (Kurds, Berbers, Baluchi, Druzes, 'Alawites, Armenians, Assyrians, Maronites, Sudanese Christians, Jews, Egyptian Copts, and others) share similar experiences and have been known to cooperate for shared goals. Important events and new trends regarding the welfare of these groups are covered, and numerous oral histories add to the new edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Catholic Library World
a significant book...it is helpful, informative and balanced...helpful, timely and accessible book
Library Journal
The Middle East is a kaleidoscope of competing ethnic groups. This informative volume by a scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem seeks to examine the struggle for self-determination by many of these ethnic groups in the region. The strength of the book lies in the breadth of its coverage of minorities in the Middle East. Individual chapters describe the condition of such Muslim minorities as the Kurds, Berbers, Baluchis, Druzes, and Alawites. The author also explains the history of Christian minorities, such as the Copts, Assyrians, Armenians, Maronites, and the Sudanese Christians. However, Nisan's occasional gratuitous attacks on the Arabs and Islam detract from the book's objectivity. Useful for informed readers and scholars of ethnicity and Middle Eastern studies.-- Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, Ala.
In contrast to the common monocultural stereotype of the Middle East as Islamic and Arabic, Nisan reveals the unique character and way of life, as well as shared experiences and goals, of a variety of Middle East minorities, including Kurds, Berbers, Baluch, Druzes, ^Alawites, Armenians, Assyrians, Maronites, Sudanese Christians, and Jews. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Library Journal
"informative volume.... Useful"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786413751
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/6/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 351
  • Sales rank: 1,029,703
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mordechai Nisan has written extensively on Zionism and the Arab-Israeli conflict. He teaches Middle East Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rothberg International School and lives in Jerusalem.

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Table of Contents

Preface 1
1 Introduction: The Middle Eastern Mosaic 3
States and Nations 9
Minorities in the Middle East 13
The Debate About Minorities 21
Principles and Means of Conflict Resolution 23
Part I Muslim Minorities
2 Kurds: A Legacy of Struggle and Suffering 33
Kurdish Life Under Islam 34
Toward Independence in Kurdistan 37
The Mahabad Episode 40
Liberation as Rebellion 41
Kurdish Persistence and Powerlessness 46
Self-Rule and National Division in the 1990s 51
3 Berbers: Between Rebellion and Submission 54
Religiously Syncretic, Communally Exotic 55
The French Invasion and Berber Militancy 60
The Episode of Riffian Independence 61
Kabylia and the Front de Liberation National (FLN) 64
Arab Statehood and the Berbers 66
New Circumstances and Old Problems 73
4 Baluch: From Obscurity to Geostrategic Importance 76
Toward Independence in Baluchistan 77
State Repression and International Opportunity 80
Between Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf 85
Part II Heterodox Muslim Minorities
5 Druzes: Freedom Without Independence 93
Religion and Its Precepts 95
Druze Warfare Within and Without 98
Druze Particularity in Mideast States 102
Survival Without Sovereignty 112
6 'Alawites: To Power and the Unknown 114
Mysterious Sectarianism 115
'Alawite Statehood and the French 118
Military Professionalism, Political Pretensions 119
The Assad Regime 122
An Uncertain Gamble 128
Part III Christian Minorities
7 Copts: From Majority People to Minority Religion 133
Religious and Communal Identity 134
During the French and British Years 138
Facing Islam, Arabism, and Egyptian Independence 141
Insecurity and Abandonment 147
8 Armenians: Talent, Tragedy, and Territorial Loss 156
Christianity and National Character 157
Toward Independence in Armenia 162
The First Genocide of the Twentieth Century 167
Dispersion and Statehood 172
Revenge, Not Revolution 174
9 Assyrians: An Ancient People, a Perennial Struggle 180
Facing Antiquity, Christianity, and Islam 181
The Church, Facing East and West 183
Toward Assyrian Independence and Failure 186
Dispersion and Revitalization 190
10 Maronites: Sophistication and Missed Opportunities 195
Lebanon's European Connection 196
Ottoman Days, Maronite Nights 200
Toward Independence in Lebanon 204
Between Statehood and Sectarianism 207
Maronite Decline and the Lebanese War 213
Syrian Occupation and Israeli Withdrawal 220
11 Sudanese Christians: Tribulations and War in Black Africa 223
Christianity in the Jungle 224
Southern Subjugation and Slavery 225
British Rule: Toward Southern Freedom and Back 229
Sudanese Independence and Southern Rebellion 231
War: Religious, Regional, and Russian Factors 236
Change and Continuity in the Southern Struggle 240
Part IV Jews, Israel, and Other Middle Eastern Minorities
12 Jews: Zionist Achievement, Lingering Question 249
Judaism: A Religion and a Nationality 250
The Everlasting Homeland 253
Survival Despite Dispersion 255
Toward Jewish Independence in Eretz-Israel 259
The Key to Zionist Success 263
The Dhimmi Syndrome 265
The Problematics of Arab Opposition 268
13 Jews, Israel, and the Minorities 272
The Middle Eastern Minority Equation 272
Mythology and Memorabilia 276
Minority Connections 278
14 Conclusions 296
The Elusiveness of Political Rule: A Comparison 298
Minority Mobilization and the Crusader Case 301
Minority Particularity and the Israeli Case 304
Peoples and State Across the Region 305
The Middle East and the World 307
Notes 311
Select Bibliography 337
Name Index 339
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