Through the Wall of Fire
Armenia-Iraq-Palestine From Wrath to Reconciliation

(ISBN: 978-3-89950-498-9)
Edition Fischer (Publisher)
380 pages
Size: 6" x 8 1/4"
Language(s): English

Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, born of Armenian immigrant parents in the United States, has lived most of her adult life in Italy and Germany. For the last twenty years she has been active as a political journalist, traveling extensively throughout the Arab and Islamic world. During the 1990s, she engaged in a humanitarian aid effort for young Iraqi victims of Desert Storm and monitored developments in Arab-Israeli relations. Her book tackles the question, whether peoples and nations who have been pitted against each other in geopolitically manipulated conflict can ever reach true reconciliation and peace. Taking the examples of the Armenian genocide of 1915, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians beginning in 1948, and the two Anglo-American wars against Iraq, she presents the tragic events through the eyes of those who were children at the time, to communicate the emotional and psychological impact on them and their progeny. Her accounts are based on personal experience, through family history as well as journalistic work over many years in the Middle East. An episode in the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri serves as a metaphor for the challenge posed to individuals and nations formerly caught up in such deadly conflict: it is the Wall of Fire, which the pilgrim Dante must go through to enter Paradise. Passing through the poetical flames entails purging himself of prior emotional states encountered in the Inferno, and discovering the attributes of a moral, universal human being; having gone through this emotional purification, he Joins with other political figures to erect a society founded on justice. Translated into contemporary political realities, traversing the Wall of Fire requires abandoning the hatred, prejudice, and ignorance bred by conflict. It means facing the truth about the past, acknowledging the historical record in all its brutality, and identifying those political forces ultimately responsible. Only then is it possible to "forgive and forget" in the spirit of the Westphalian Peace, to define an utterly new relationship between former adversaries, based on common commitment to enhance the progress of the Other. Considering bold new initiatives recently launched by protagonists in the three crisis areas, the author sketches out an optimistic vision for the future.

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