Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising, and the Arab World

Kanan Makiya, Author W. W. Norton & Company $22.95 (367p) ISBN 978-0-393-03108-9
In this urgently important, courageous polemic, Iraqui dissident Makiya challenges Arabs and pro-Arab intellectuals to end their collective silence on the represssion carried out against their own people by brutal thugs like Saddam Hussein. Makiya's Republic of Fear (1989), written under the pseudonym Samir al-Khalil, likened Saddam's totalitarianism to Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany. Here Makiya, who is based in Cambridge, Mass., fleshes out those analogies, drawing on his return trip to Iraq in late 1991 to searingly portray ordinary Iraquis and Kuwaitis victimized by the Ba'th regime. He documents the Iraqi army's mass murder in 1988 of some 100,000 Kurdish civilians, a secret genocidal campaign launched by Saddam Hussein. Makiya calls attention to institutionalized cruelty throughout the Arab Middle East: torture in Syria, public beheadings and amputations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwaitis' murder of thousands of Palestinians. Attacking the anti-imperialist rhetoric of Edward Said and Noam Chomsky as simplistic, Mikaya views the Gulf crisis as symptomatic of an ``Arab moral failure'' and envisions an Iraq freed from Saddam Hussein's repressive dictatorship. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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