In this week’s Missing Pieces, Charles Landow highlights the latest developments in Syria and Pakistan, as well as interesting scholarly work on other regions and issues. I hope you enjoy the selection and look forward to your comments.
- Syria’s Political Perspectives: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has managed to retain power through six months of rebellion and the fall of three fellow Arab autocrats. The New York Times last week offered a fascinating glimpse at a central reason why: many Damascus elites support Assad’s regime and deny that their country is in upheaval. The piece explores the views of clients at a fancy Damascus salon, where the debate centers not on democracy but on nail polish. Some agree with the government that protesters are seeking to foment division. Others are minorities, such as Christians, who fear life under Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority in a post-Assad era. The article gives a starkly different perspective from most news reports on Syria, making it a valuable read. For a longer but no less worthwhile look at the country’s revolutionary stirrings, see Wendell Steavenson’s “Roads to Freedom” in the August 29 issue of the New Yorker. It offers a nuanced portrait of several leading revolutionaries, ending on an optimistic note for Syria’s future. Read more »