For decades now, the Middle East has been torn by violent conflicts of the most savage kind. There have been five Arab-Israeli wars; wars between other states; numerous civil wars, small and large; struggles by women, students, workers, peasants; religious and class battles. Innumerable books on these subjects have been published; however, "Forbidden Agendas: Intolerance and Defiance in the Middle East," a collection of seventeen articles from the journal Khamsin, stands alone.
The contributors - who hail from Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran - tackle themes proscribed in much of the region, such as Oriental Jews and Palestinian workers in Israel; women in Israel and the Arab countries; the politics of religion and religious revivalism in the Arab world, Iran, and Israel; the civil war in Lebanon and so on. Moreover, these themes are treated in unorthodox ways: few of these articles are likely to please committed partisans of any of the contending political forces.
Readers of this anthology will find iconoclastic analysis of some of the issues underlying the many conflicts of the region, in the place of the usual repetitions of commonplace claims and the banal jargon of Middle Eastern politics, whether left or right.