Here’s a Better Way to Understand Urban Violence in the Middle East

Here’s a Better Way to Understand Urban Violence in the Middle East – Defense One – The stories and images currently coming out of Aleppo, Syria, where forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad are overpowering the last pockets of resistance in the eastern part of the city, are heartbreaking. Over the past several weeks, scores, if not hundreds, of civilians have perished from bombings and shootings, as well as a severe lack of food and medical care, before they could be evacuated. News from Mosul, where Iraqi forces are battling ISIS and civilians are being wounded and killed, is also dire. Such are the accounts Westerners have become accustomed to hearing about the cities of the Middle East. By and large, media reports don’t provide the context necessary for readers to comprehend how such brutality came about, and how it fits into a broader picture of urban violence across both time and space. Nelida Fuccaro, an historian at the University of London, seeks to provide this context through a recent book, Violence in the City in the Modern Middle East, which surveys the diverse causes and effects of violence in the region, tracking how violence shaped and destroyed communities, governments, and daily life in specific urban centers during periods of recent history. Fuccaro, who edited the collection of essays, spoke with CityLab about the book.


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