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Karama!: Journeys Through the Arab Spring
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Karama!: Journeys Through the Arab Spring (Paperback)

£8.99
Usually despatched in 7-10 days.

Synopsis

Johnny West has lived in this area for the past decade and speaks fluent Arabic, and so has the skills and ability to talk to everyone from security guards to revolutionaries, from families of protestors, some of whom have been killed, to oil workers, to cafe owners, lawyers, barbers and clerics. Travelling on public buses, visiting with families, hanging out in shops and cafes, he brings out for all of us what made ordinary people erupt, what happened to them during those days and now, what their hopes, fears and dreams are, how they see us in the West, how each country is different but how they see themselves as part of a joint Arab culture, before Islamists.



Johnny West's long experience in the area enables him to set all this in context, while never losing the vividness of a travel book or the characters of a novel. This is not a political treatise but a journey of discovery - of people, of places, of life under extraordinary circumstances - which this book allows us to share and makes one feels as if one had been there.

History & PoliticsHistory: specific events & topicsRevolutions, uprisings, rebellionsTravel & MapsTravel & holiday guides Publisher: Quercus Publishing Publication Date: 04/08/2011 ISBN-13: 9780857389947  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Johnny West was a Reuters correspondent in the Middle East; for a decade he has run a digital news agency in the area. He is an internet journalist and blogger. He has worked in Afghanistan, as well as Egypt, Tunisia and Iraq. He lives in Jordan. He speaks fluent Arabic, Farsi and French. He now works for the United Nations.

More books by Johnny West

Customer Reviews

As someone who’s never been to the Middle East, my impression of the Arab Spring was drawn from a bombardment of news reports; despite realising the importance of the events, it was very difficult to properly identify with the millions of people who had triggered this incredible revolution. This changed with Karama (meaning "dignity"). The book introduces us to a wide range of individuals, some who are by now fairly well known- the family of Khaled Said, for example- and others, whose stories would not otherwise have been told. We meet courageous 20-somethings who have been transformed into national heroes, and read the astonishing story of an unspoken truce between police and civilians during daylight hours which was replaced by violent warfare at night, and pages later we encounter an old-school army superior, convinced that Mubarak had it right. There are seemingly mundane events, such as journeys in shared taxis and coffees on street corners, which give us an insight into the views of “ordinary” people, combined with run-ins with the army at checkpoint and horrific stories from torture victims; perhaps an insight into the huge diversity of events happening in the Middle East at the moment. Reading so many different perspectives on the Arab Spring from those who were there, those who took part (or actively didn’t take part) and those who are now living in the consequences of the revolution, was fascinating. Instead of providing a political analysis into the events, West offers an unashamedly subjective account, and it is for this reason that the book is so unique amongst the mountain of reading material already available about the revolution. He reveals his personal opinions and previous experiences of his life in the Middle East, combined with captivating nuggets of background information which offer more context for those of us who are less well-versed in the rich history of the region. I found myself making a mental list of people, places and events mentioned that I wanted to look up and learn more about after finishing Karama- the origins of Gaddafi’s Green Book, and revolutionary rap in Tunisia for example. I would recommend this book not just for those with a previous interest in the Middle East, but for those who have, up to now, felt like much of the reading material available presumes previous knowledge of the region. Karama provides a straightforward and easily comprehensible entry point into an incredible culture, at a time when understanding and tolerance between different societies is crucial to seeing the revolution through to a successful end.

- 22/07/2011
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