A Rage for Order

A Rage for Order

The Middle East in Turmoil, From Tahrir Square to ISIS

Book - 2016
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Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374252946
Characteristics: 259 pages


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Sep 13, 2016

A new line was being drawn, with Islamists on one side and their opponents on the other.

Sep 13, 2016

We are facing Saudi funded terrorism, just like you.

Sep 13, 2016

We don't even understand ourselves.

Sep 13, 2016

... the voice of the revolution is higher than the voice of bullets.


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Dec 03, 2016

This book is the story of the Arab Spring told from the perspectives of real people in several different countries: Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Tunisia. Hearing the personal stories of individuals makes it all much more real. The author was there during these uprisings (and the aftermaths), and his descriptions are gripping.

What impressed me most was how disparate groups came together for a common cause in each of these countries, with great joy, almost euphoria. Sadly, it did not last, and struggles for power have deepened the divisions among various sects even more. I am reading everything lately through the lens of what is happening here, and the divisions in our own country that have been fueled by the presidential election campaign. I used to think that the Middle East was perplexing with so many factions hating each other for what seemed to be trivial reasons. Not any more.

The story of the excitement of the revolution in Tahrir Square in Egypt was gripping; it is tragic to see it all fade away in the wake of military power. Civil wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen are heart-breaking.

For me personally, the most compelling story was about the close friendship of two young women in Syria in two different sects. As the situation in Syria escalates, they start to view each other differently, with more suspicion. For a while, their friendship can survive this, but ultimately, the relationship becomes impossible.

There was also a story about a female doctor in Syria who risked her life and profession to give medical assistance to people in the revolution. Frankly, it is all too easy to imagine myself and people I know in these situations. Many of the Syrian refugees feared by some Americans as terrorists are real people like this, who have been driven out of their country by the violence and uproar of civil war.

While there are uplifting parts of this book, there are more discouraging parts. I must admit this is not the most cheerful book! But it is well written, and will give you an idea of what it is like to be a resident of these Middle East countries in these turbulent times.

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