Spring, Rebellion and Books

There's a dirty war in Mali: Crowds gathered round amputated limbs which have been hacked of as an act of terror and/or revenge remind me of gory days in Sierra Leone. The west African nation is at peace now but Arab rebellions are in the news again.

Three days ago, Aljazeera ran a commentary headlined "In the Arab world's deepest state, the revolution continues" by Mark Levine.

A professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine, Levine is also the author of a soon-to-be-released book about revolutions in the Arab world.

Al Jazeera was probably one of the first outlets to report on the Arab Spring. About this time early 2011, my eyes (probably all eyes) were trained on rapidly unfolding events. First, Hosni Mubarak was forced out by a groundswell of protest in Egypt, then there was the Bahraini uprising followed by the unstoppable opposition to Muammar al-Gaddafi's rule in Libya.

24/7 media coverage on the Arab world set me on a virtual voyage of discovery.

Sherry Early's "Reading Challenge: Northern Africa" wasn't on my radar, but by the fall of 2011 when I stumbled across Banipal, the magazine of modern Arab literature, with Libyan Fiction as its theme, I'd finally read Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, and Sugar Street of The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz.

I'd also stumbled upon Hisham Matar's In the Country of Old Men, and reread Alia Rifaat's Distant View of a Minaret and other stories as well as Assia Djebar's Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade.

I never quite got to hit eleven books from Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara. for the 2012 "Northern Africa Challenge", but it's on my to-do list for 2013.


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