The “Mashriq” as a Zone of Violence
This chapter introduces the main question of the book: how did mass violence come to be a primary—perhaps the primary—mode of making political claims in the twentieth and twenty-first century Middle East? It asks when mass violence became a constitutive aspect of the political landscape of the region, why it took precedence over other strategies of state building and establishing political authority, and how governments, armies, and civilians alike came to think of mass violence as a viable and legitimate mode of claiming political space and national rights. Drawing on several different and largely separate historiographies, this introduction argues, makes it possible to produce a synthetic account of violence in the twentieth century Eastern Mediterranean that takes account of regional developments as much as individual national histories.
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