The Middle East

White Swords and Black Pages: The Damnatio Memoriae of Abu Tammam

Heavens, what a pile! Whole ages perish there, And one bright blaze turns learning into air.                       —Alexander Pope, The Dunciad Straddling the ancient high road to Tiberias, not far from the fabled pasturage of Job, where rocks were once said to shed out streams of oil, lies the Syrian city of Jasim. It was there, on March 18, 2011, that hundreds of townspeople took to the streets in solidarity with their fellow protesters in the besieged city of Daraa. “People of dignity, people of honor,” imams declaimed from their minarets, “your folks in Daraa are being slaughtered,” and soon…

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