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Theme Changer

 Topic: Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms

 (Read 845 times)
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  • Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms
     OP - September 29, 2015, 04:00 PM

    In this interview Gerard Russell talks about his vivid and timely new book Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East (Basic Books, 2014). Russell's experience as a British diplomat in a rapidly changing region gives the book remarkable breadth, providing a valuable insight into the lives of minority communities from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to Egypt: Mandaeans, Yazidis, Zoroastrians, Druze, Samaritans, Copts and Kalasha. Russell's account pays particular attention to the circulation of stories, symbols and practices between these groups and reveals a history or extraordinary diversity and interdependence. His journey through this symbolic ecosystem, struggling to survive in its lands of origin, leads him eventually to diaspora communities in America and Europe. Is this the final domain of these forgotten kingdoms?

    Gerard Russell's account of these colourful pasts, precarious presents and unknown futures will be of interest to scholars of religion, culture, the Middle East, and a wider non-specialist readership.

    Listen to the interview:
  • Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms
     Reply #1 - September 29, 2015, 04:21 PM

    Looks like an interesting book.

    Will definitely check it out.

    Thanks for the link.

  • Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms
     Reply #2 - September 29, 2015, 05:11 PM

    Looks like an interesting book.

    Will definitely check it out.

    Thanks for the link.


      well watch it what he says about that book

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
  • Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms
     Reply #3 - September 29, 2015, 07:13 PM

    William Dalrymple's review:
  • Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms
     Reply #4 - April 01, 2017, 11:47 PM
    Gerard Russell on religious minorities in the Middle East

    With the advancing forces of the Islamic State (IS) and its targeted campaign against minority groups by killing those unwilling to convert to Islam many minority faiths have become endangered such as the Shabaks, Yazidis, the Turkmens and the Assyrian Christians. There are very few experts who can provide clarification about the current position of these minority faiths. One of the few who can do so is Gerard Russell, a former British diplomat who had widely traveled in Iraq and other regions in the Middle East and writer of the book Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms. De Balie director Yoeri Albrecht speaks with him about his book. Afterwards, Petra Sijpesteijn - professor of Arabic Language and Culture at Leiden University - joins the conversation.

    The Middle East has long sheltered many distinctive and strange faiths: one regards the Greek prophets as incarnations of God, another reveres Lucifer in the form of a peacock, and yet another believes that their followers are reincarnated beings who have existed in various forms for thousands of years. These religions represent the last vestiges of the magnificent civilizations in ancient history: Persia, Babylon, Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs. Their followers have learned how to survive foreign attacks and the perils of assimilation. But today, with the Middle East in turmoil, they face greater challenges than ever before.

    Since the early 20th century we witnessed the rise of militant, extremist Islamic sects. This development, along with the rippling effects of Western invasion, now pose existential threats to these minority faiths. And as more and more of their youth flee to the West in search of greater freedoms and job prospects, these religions face the dire possibility of extinction.

  • Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms
     Reply #5 - April 02, 2017, 12:17 AM

    I was reading this yesterday on breaks while lifting.  Almost finished.  It's a good read, recommended!
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