Bloomberg's Best Books of 2017
“Since the start of the Syrian uprising, Saleh’s influence and his role as an incisive critic of extremism, dictatorship, and the effects of mass violence on Syrian society have offered powerful and compelling responses to the traumas that define the contemporary Syrian experience.”Steven Heydemann, author of Authoritarianism in Syria: Institutions and Social Conflict, 1946–1970
This first book in English by Yassin Al-Haj Saleh, the intellectual voice of the Syrian revolution, describes with precision and fervor the events that led to the Syrian uprising of 2011the metamorphosis of the popular revolution into a regional war and the “three monsters” Saleh sees “treading on Syria’s corpse”: the Assad regime and its allies, ISIS and other jihadists, and the West. Where conventional wisdom has it that Assad’s army is now battling against religious fanatics for control of the country, Saleh argues that the emancipatory, democratic mass movement that ignited the revolution still exists, though it is beset on all sides.
Saleh offers incisive critiques of the impact of the revolution and war on Syrian governance, identity, and society to produce a powerful and compelling response to the traumas that define the contemporary Syrian experience. All those concerned with the conflict should take note.
Yassin al-Haj Saleh is widely regarded as Syria’s foremost thinker and the intellectual authority of the Syrian uprising. Born in Raqqa, he spent sixteen years as a political prisoner in Syria (1980–1996) and has been living in exile in Turkey since 2013. He is the author of six books.
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About the Author
Yassin al-Haj Saleh is widely regarded as Syria’s foremost thinker and the intellectual guru of the Syrian uprising. Born in Raqqa, he spent sixteen years as a political prisoner in Syria (1980-1996) and has been living in exile in Turkey since 2013, still struggling for Syria and Samira, his abducted wife. Along with a group of Syrian and Turkish intellectuals and activists, he established the Syrian Cultural House in Istanbul called Hamish (‘margin’ or ‘fringe’), which has become a major hub of activity and helped change the debate about Syria within Turkey. He has written and edited five books in Arabic, but this is his first in English.
Table of Contents
1. Revolution of the Common People: Ethical, Cultural, and Political Issues within
the Syrian Uprising
2. The Syrian Shabiha and their State
3. The Syrian Revolution and the Danger of a “State of Nature”
4. Arms and the Revolution: Outlines of a Story
5. The Social and Cultural Roots of Syrian Fascism
6. The Rise of Militant Nihilism in Syria
7. Assad or No One/Assad or We Burn the Country: The Regime of Political Nihilism
8. An Image, Two Flags, and a Banner: A Socio-Symbolic Approach to the Interaction and Conflict of Four Syrias
9. On the Paths and Destinies of the Syrian Revolution at the Threshold of Two and a Half Years
10. The Neo-Sultanic State: Political and Social Sources of Sectarianism in Syria