Rebel Land : Among Turkey's Forgotten Peoples Paperback
What is the meaning of love and death in a remote, forgotten, impossibly conflicted part of the world?
In "Rebel Land" the acclaimed author and journalist Christopher de Bellaigue journeys to Turkey's inhospitable eastern provinces to find out.
Immersing himself in the achingly beautiful district of Varto, a place left behind in Turkey's march to modernity, medieval in its attachment to race and religious sect, he explores the violent history of conflict between Turks, Kurds and Armenians, and the maelstrom, of emotion and memories, that defines its inhabitants even today.
The result is a compellingly personal account of one man's search into the past, as de Bellaigue, mistrusted by all he meets, and particularly by the secret agents of the State, applies his investigative flair and fluent Turkish to unlock jealously-guarded taboos and hold humanity's excesses up to the light of a very modern sensibility.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Publication Date: 19/04/2010
- Category: European history
- ISBN: 9780747596769
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Review by Opinionated
I found this book Illuminating and if the narrative swirls this is a good reflection of the confused histories, identities and affiliations of the region. De Bellaigue is criticized when an article he we writes for the New York Review of Books appears skewed to the Turkish state in the matter of the1915 Armenian "genocide". To redress the balance he spends 3 years in the region of Varto, trying to understand the people and politics of Eastern Anatolia better. And so we learn of the 1915 deportations, story so confused that de Bellaigue still cannot come to a firm conclusion as to whether the massive killings were premeditated, spontaneous opportunism, the settling of grudges or some combination of all 3, at least in the Varto area. We learn of the confused identities of Kurds and Alevis, the history of the PKK in the area and of many local squabbles, deceptions and feuds. It's fascinating stuff, and if one message comes out its that everyone has their own version of truth and that the empirical truth is very hard to pin downBut the book could do with an index and a chronology as the links between some of the characters are hard to remember. But it's a fascinating read