Middle East/North African Lit discussion

Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon
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2019 > discussion of "Pity the Nation" by Robert Fisk

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message 1: by Niledaughter (last edited Apr 15, 2019 10:14AM) (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2755 comments Mod
Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon by Robert Fisk is not only about Beirut , it about Lebanon , splintered as it was by factions, bedevilled by betrayal, about the civil war that ravaged the country from 1975 to 1990 , the book is a record by a witness who was able to analyse the conflict historically and politically .

The title is from the poem of the same name by Kahlil Gibran:

Pity the Nation
Extract from “The Garden of the Prophet”
Gibran Khalil Gibran
1933

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave, eats a bread it does not harvest, and drinks a wine that
flows not from its own wine-press.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero, and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.
Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream, yet submits in its awakening.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice save when it walks in a funeral, boasts not except among its ruins, and
will rebel not save when its neck is laid between the sword and the block.
Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox, whose philosopher is a juggler, and whose art is the art of patching
and mimicking.
Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting, and farewells him with hooting, only to welcome
another with trumpeting again.
Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and whose strong men are yet in the cradle.
Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation.





Niledaughter | 2755 comments Mod
Who will be reading this book ?
Is anyone reading any books about Beirut ?


message 3: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 757 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Who will be reading this book ?
Is anyone reading any books about Beirut ?"



I would like to read something about Beirut. Is this book about Lebanon in general?


message 4: by Nan (new)

Nan Carter | 155 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Who will be reading this book ?
Is anyone reading any books about Beirut ?"


Thanks for asking. I have the book and look forward to start reading it as soon as I finish Fountain and Tomb.


Niledaughter | 2755 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "Niledaughter wrote: "Who will be reading this book ?
Is anyone reading any books about Beirut ?"


I would like to read something about Beirut. Is this book about Lebanon in general?"


It is about the civil war , Fisk testimony about it , Beirut will be included also Sabra and Shatila I believe.

We can read The Stone of Laughter in parallel ?


Niledaughter | 2755 comments Mod
Nan wrote: "Niledaughter wrote: "Who will be reading this book ?
Is anyone reading any books about Beirut ?"

Thanks for asking. I have the book and look forward to start reading it as soon as I finish Fountai..."


Please share your thoughts when you start :)


Niledaughter | 2755 comments Mod
I think I will start by next week as I need to finish some books first , anybody else will be reading this book ?


message 8: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 757 comments I won't be joining this time. I read Robert Fisk's articles, but don't feel like reading an entire book by him at the moment.


Niledaughter | 2755 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "I won't be joining this time. I read Robert Fisk's articles, but don't feel like reading an entire book by him at the moment."

I understand .

As "Pity the Nation" was the winning book in the poll I expected to see more of members who voted for it , Only Nan showed interest .


message 10: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 757 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Jalilah wrote: "I won't be joining this time. I read Robert Fisk's articles, but don't feel like reading an entire book by him at the moment."

I understand .

As "Pity the Nation" was the winning ..."


That happens sometimes and it's so annoying!
A few years ago in the Into the Forest group Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane won. All the moderators as well as regular members had already read it, but so many people who normally never participate voted for it that it won by a landslide. Then when it was time to discussion, none of those people who voted for it even left a comment!


message 11: by Sajra (new) - added it

Sajra | 2 comments I started reading it as an eBook on English so you can count on me joining the discussion.


message 12: by Nan (new)

Nan Carter | 155 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Nan wrote: "Niledaughter wrote: "Who will be reading this book ?
Is anyone reading any books about Beirut ?"

Thanks for asking. I have the book and look forward to start reading it as soon as I fi..."


Niledaughter wrote: "Jalilah wrote: "Niledaughter wrote: "Who will be reading this book ?
Is anyone reading any books about Beirut ?"


I would like to read something about Beirut. Is this book about Lebanon in general..."


I started reading this book. I’m glad I’m reading it. I remember watching the news during those years. It’s a slow read for me because I stop and think about what it might have been like for the people in this book. I appreciate the mention the books of fiction written about this time which help to further an understanding what it was like to be caught up in political events beyond your control.


message 13: by Niledaughter (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2755 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "That happens sometimes and it's so annoying!
A few years ago in the Into the Forest group Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane won. All the moderators as well as regular members had already read it, but so many people who normally never participate voted for it that it won by a landslide. Then when it was time to discussion, none of those people who voted for it even left a comment! ..."

:( :(

Sajra wrote: "I started reading it as an eBook on English so you can count on me joining the discussion."

Great , please share your thoughts with us :)

Nan wrote: "I started reading this book. I’m glad I’m reading it. I remember watching the news during those years. It’s a slow read for me because I stop and think about what it might have been like for the people in this book. I appreciate the mention the books of fiction written about this time which help to further an understanding what it was like to be caught up in political events beyond your control...."

Wow , that is interesting , it is reading history for me . I am reading the book in Arabic , it is the second edition with a new introduction highlighting Ariel Sharon being the prime minister of Israel in 2001 .

I read chapter one , it is interesting how he started his book by visiting Auschwitz concentration camp trying to understand the mentality that was behind what he witnessed and going to describe .

Speaking of the books he mentioned, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians has been on my to read list for a while and I wanted to read for Noam Chomsky in general but it does not seem likely in the near future .


message 14: by Niledaughter (new) - added it

Niledaughter | 2755 comments Mod
I finished chapter 4 , it was painful as much as confusing , I failed to understand what was happening or why ? and by the end of it I was surprised that even Fisk and reporters who were witnessing that bloody chaos did not understand either !


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