Aftermath: following the bloodshed of America's wars in the Muslim world

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© 2012 Institute of Race Relations.

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SAGE Publishing




Aftermath is the story of America’s latest imperial wars, told through the voices of those who have been victimised, dispossessed, displaced, wounded and embittered. It puts faces and voices to human beings whom America has reduced to numbers in the identity-based politicisation of the Middle East region. Rosen has deliberately eschewed the familiar tropes of ‘embedded’ journalists parroting the official line about the ‘US democracy project’ in Iraq and Afghanistan, or al-Qaida terrorism in the region, or ‘age-old Sunni-Shi’ite conflict’ in Iraq and Lebanon. Rosen embedded himself not in the US or other military, but in the homes, streets, mosques, churches and community centres of ordinary Iraqis, Lebanese, Palestinians, Syrians and Jordanians. The entire book is based on first-hand interviews; there is not a single published source cited. This, more than any other aspect, is the value of Rosen’s work: he makes the everyday horrors of the US’s Middle East conflicts real through the voices of the people living there. From local politicians to salafi jihadists, to refugees, to slum dwellers, to Mahdi Army militiamen, to religious leaders, Rosen gives them reasons and histories that make their actions understandable, if not justifiable. This is not a book for the faint of heart or for novices on the history and politics of the Middle East. Without some understanding of the historical, cultural, religious and political underpinnings of the countries of the region, much of the book will be difficult to follow. Dense, detailed, meandering at times, following the tales of hundreds of people, it is sometimes even difficult for the Middle East specialist to keep track of who is saying what and why.

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