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international > Books and other resources on the Middle East

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message 1: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Heard | 10 comments Similar to a thread started by Brett earlier this year, I would like to ask for recommendations on books--and other resources such as websites, documentaries, and so on--specifically on the topic of the Middle East. This topic has international impact, yet it is quite complex, with its mainstream presentation often slanted toward a particular political leaning. As such, we at "Friends of Lebanon" (a group based in London that I run) have a "Resources" section in our website to encourage readers to expand their understanding from many perspectives. The book page is here http://friendsoflebanon.org/books-and..., where you will see links to other Resources pages.

As many great analyses are independently published and don't get massive publicity, we may have missed some on our list. I'd appreciate any suggestions for inclusion. Thanks in advance for your collective expertise!


message 2: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy As I glanced down the list of books, Brenda, I seemed to sense an anti-Israeli perspective.


message 3: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Heard | 10 comments Jimmy wrote: "As I glanced down the list of books, Brenda, I seemed to sense an anti-Israeli perspective."

We are "Friends of Lebanon," and relations with Israel have been hostile from the beginning. Thus books focusing on the two countries (and on Palestine, which has had immeasurable impact on Lebanon) tend to reveal the belligerence of the relationship. That said, we have tried to list books that are well documented. We have also tried to maintain an element of hope for a better future, one that begins with understanding and coming to terms with the past and current problems. Hence the inclusion of, for example, 'The Almond Tree', a fictional novel by Michelle Cohen Corasanti.The Almond Tree

We are hoping to expand the list to include more titles on the issues of the Middle East in general, as it is rather a tangled mess--little happens that doesn't reverberate through the region. Suggestions?


message 4: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy You said you wanted many perspectives, but I can only see a slanted viewpoint. I'm sorry, but I'm just trying to be honest, Brenda. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Then how about Killing Mr. Lebanon by Nicholas Blanford.

or Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism in the Middle East by Judith Palmer Harik.

Or something about Hezbollah supporting Assad in Syria.


message 5: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Heard | 10 comments Jimmy wrote: "You said you wanted many perspectives, but I can only see a slanted viewpoint. I'm sorry, but I'm just trying to be honest, Brenda. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Then how about Killing Mr. Leba..."


Thanks, Jimmy. That is why we are asking for input--so we can see how others see the resources. Those are good suggestions and I am adding them to the list we are compiling for review. Should be doing the update in the next couple weeks. Thanks for your time, and feel free to offer more titles, particularly on broad analyses.


message 6: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy To have nothing on the assassination of Rafic Hariri by Syrian agents in a group that calls itself Friends of Lebanon seems to me a glaring omission. I would suggest trying to correct that especially.


message 7: by Xdyj (last edited Apr 30, 2015 12:33AM) (new)

Xdyj | 74 comments From its blog posts it is quite obvious that this organization is broadly sympathetic to Iran/Russia/Assad. I don't think there is anything wrong with that, just maybe this perspective could be stated more explicitly in the website.


message 8: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy I agree. That's why it should be flat out stated and not pretend to be a group with "many perspectives."


message 9: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Heard | 10 comments Thanks for the input. Just to clarify the question of "many perspectives," I used the phrase in the initial post to include those perspectives outside the mainstream--apologies that this seems to have been ambiguous.

Our ultimate sympathy is with peace and respect. We have intended to have this ideal permeate our work. Yes, we are supportive of the concept of resistance--so is the United Nations. But we try our best to avoid the domestic politics of Lebanon, which too often equates to mud-slinging.Instead, we try to prompt consideration of the bigger picture: of the long-term, of the regional and global issues, of human issues. We have always encouraged wide-reaching participation. As we quote French philosopher Emile Chartier on our website, “Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.”


message 10: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy But you seem to have no problem attacking Israel and saying nothing about Syria. In my view, this only prolongs the hatred and avoids an acceptance of Israel as a nation. Again in my view, it could be very easy if people were willing for Israel and Lebanon to accept their border and put an end to any infringement of it. Syria is entrenched in Lebanese politics. The "dangerous idea" I see is to blame Israel for everything. Eventually, a nation has to solve its own problems.


message 11: by Xdyj (last edited May 20, 2015 06:29PM) (new)

Xdyj | 74 comments Brenda wrote: "Thanks for the input. Just to clarify the question of "many perspectives," I used the phrase in the initial post to include those perspectives outside the mainstream--apologies that this seems to h..."

There are many perspectives outside the mainstream but imho I only see on that website the one favorable to March 8/Iran/Russia/Assad so-called "Resistance axis". Why is it that when Hezbollah fought against IDF it is resistance but when Syrian rebels fight against Hezbollah intervention in Syria it is not resistance? Why is religious zionism rigorously condemned but velāyat-e faqīh praised as "participatory democracy"? btw, that nice post on "Iranian model" reads like something in People's Daily.

P.S. I do think Hezbollah is one of the most decent factions in that region esp. in its service to the poor and defense of religious minorities, and I would probably support it had I been a Lebanese citizen.


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