FRACTURED LANDS – How the Arab world came apart
By Scott Anderson
Monica Reads, a Review by Monica Drahonovsky
If you are reading this review of Fractured Lands by Scott Anderson, you are inquisitive. You are smart and curious about the present-day dilemma the United States faces when making the big decisions such as when to go to war and for what purpose do we put our sons and daughters in harm’s way. These questions haunt me in every way.
Scott Anderson is a veteran war correspondent and a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine with work appearing in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper’s and Outside. He gives a broad overview of how the Arab world today was back in 1919 when after the Great War everything became a jumble in his book Fractured Lands.
In the Arab world we are now paying the price for the jumble that started in 2003 and then the so-called Arab Spring. The author includes interviews with six individuals from Kurdistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen and Egypt. The six people interviewed had a crystallizing moment that propelled them forward. You will read and cry.
What he learned about the failed states was fascinating and you really need to read this book to fully understand why. The Arab world is made up of many religions and sub-religions and the social status of many individuals. The one statement made in the book by one of the individuals was that he was very happy with the King and how he administers the state of Jordan.
However, after one question he was quiet and contemplative and stated that while he really believed in the King, his family and their ideals would take precedent over how he feels. If his family members were against the King, he would follow suit and go with what the majority of his clan, family, or tribe thought best for themselves and the country.
What I got out of all of the interviews was that the first connection was always to family, clan, or tribe. There was no state that was stronger than the family, clan or tribal connection.
Back in 1919 when other states divided up the Arab lands and decided who would control them was the beginning of the end. Until 2003, the heads of the states in question all understood this so they all made connections with the other factions to make them feel safe.
However, when push comes to shove the heads of states all were of a minority connection so there was corruption, bribery and nepotism used as the main way forward. When the heads of states were toppled or were pushed out of power, trouble loomed and none of the above-mentioned states including Egypt acted fast enough to get legitimate political powers to take over control of the country leaving a vacuum.
Who walked in, ISIS. Brutal people, murderous people, thuggish corrupt people, and drugged up people.
In the United States, we think we know how to help the people and the other countries and we would be better off to let them all go their own way. Help is not always wanted, understood, or asked for. This book gives the reader an overview of the reality of the people, religious affiliation, place, corrupt officials and time.
You need to go to the library or your local bookstore and get this book, read it and then make sure others read it. It is a fascinating read and well worth your time and effort.
Monica Drahonovsky reviews books for InDepthNH.org. Monica is known for her love of history and her lifelong love for reading. She has a bachelor’s degree in History, with a minor in English. “My years of reading for leisure and pleasure have given me the insight to read a book and analyze the author’s baggage, cargo and ability to write the language of his/her mind and utilize the gift of prose to educate and entertain the reader. Go get a book, read it and enjoy the adventure.” Contact Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org