Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Blog
Anthony Shadid has been widely hailed as the best foreign correspondent of his generation. For Arab Americans, he was much more than that. How many times did we send one of Anthony's dispatches from Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya or Syria to our friends so that they might understand Arabs as mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brother and sisters -- as complex, dynamic people? The humanity of Anthony's writing gave all of us a voice.
Today marks the release of Anthony's most personal work, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East. Though he left us much too soon, what remains is a poignant telling of the rebuilding of his family's house in southern Lebanon and Anthony's search for home. There can be no better tribute to his memory than for the Arab American community to help make House of Stone a bestseller.
An excerpt from the book originally posted by The New York Times appears below:
THE America that drew my family was 7,000 miles from where they started, in old Marjayoun, in what is now Lebanon.
My aunts and uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents, were part of a century-long wave of migration that occurred as the Ottoman Empire crumbled, then fell, around the time of World War I. In the hinterland of what was then part of Greater Syria, the war marked years of violent anarchy that made bloodshed casual. Disease was rife. So was famine. Hundreds of thousands starved in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and beyond. My family’s region was not spared. A survey of 182 villages in the area showed that a fourth of the homes withered into wartime ruin, and more than a third of the people who had inhabited them had died.
This horrific decade and its aftermath provoked villagers — including my family — to abandon their homes for locations ranging from South America to West Africa to Australia, as well as a few neighborhoods in Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kan.
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