Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution- Edited by Matthew Cassel & Layla Al-Zubaidi
gender: M & F
nationality: Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria
READ THIS. If you are at all interested in the Near East and the events of 'Arab Spring', this really should be on your reading list. It is not yet dated, I assure you. No matter your own feelings about the results of the various revolutions (i.e. whether you blame them for the destabilization of the region or whether you forgot about them), this is integral for any sympathetic understanding of the region. This a collection of their own stories written from the moment. The young and the progressives of societies too often depicted as uniformly either conservative or suffering are translated into English in this book. It is heartbreaking, infuriating, and inspiring to read of the various tribulations and their strong insistence that things can get better. You do need to know some of the context of the individual countries but most of the writers, conscious that they are writing for non-Arab audiences, give you a brief history though some of the writers do seem to be slightly more self-centered than others. What this book most succeeds at is presenting history and events as complex events while also giving you ways to emotionally connect. This is not an academic text where all of the catalysts are set out and defined and analyzed but rather the type of information you'd get from your friends and the short conversation you had with the baker while waiting for your coffee. As such, while there is fact here, it is fact thrown through the lens of people themselves. Compelling doesn't begin to describe it.