...constitutes an important and much needed intervention on the themes of memory and violence in Middle East studies. -Lisa Hajjar, University of California, Santa Barbara The Middle East and North Africa form a region united by a common history of armed conflict and repeated international efforts at producing a lasting peace. This interdisciplinary collection explores the connections between memories of past violence and the violence of present memories, the context for all contemporary efforts at conflict resolution and reconciliation. The contributors examine the 1954-1962 Franco-Algerian war, the 1975-1991 Lebanese civil war, and the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict as interconnected struggles that outline national polities, infranational fractures, and transnational political connections. Insofar as national unity has been constructed on the contested claims of sacrifice and martyrdom, the legacy of violence has remained inscribed at the heart of political identity. The case studies point to the failure of current attempts to officially forget past conflicts, at the same time indicating local successes in commemorative actions that forge at least partial peaces between individuals and groups.
Ussama Makdisi is Associate Professor of History at Rice University. Paul A. Silverstein is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Reed College.