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Carlson - Cairo to Damascus (Nazis and the Muslim Brotherhood) (1951)

Carlson - Cairo to Damascus (Nazis and the Muslim Brotherhood) (1951)

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Published by mbooboo

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Published by: mbooboo on Aug 25, 2010
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01/29/2013

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PREFACEIT seems to me there are two ways, generally speaking, to pre-pare a book, take a trip, or, for that matter, to live a life. Onemay go at it dilettante fashion, as a tourist—nibbling at ex-perience, titillating the emotions yet emotionally starved,stimulating oneself with ambition yet forever tortured byfrustration. Circumstances and temperament, however, mayconspire together so that, with the freedom of a nomad, onecan escape the straightjacket of everyday boredom, hurdlefences of space and time, and consume life at its sources. Prop-erly directed, such an earthly life may give wing to one'simagination, clarity to one's thinking, strength to one's convic-tions, and even bring one nearer to the simple, eternal truths of God and spirit.This book, I feel, belongs in the second category—the cate-gory of the primitive.I left my country quite as uninformed, I am afraid, as aremost Americans with respect to other peoples and other shores.But everywhere I went I sought to touch reality—alwayshonestly, and always at first hand. Everywhere I clung close tothe smells, the flora and fauna of native existence. In thatspirit I have written of the Arabs among whom I lived. I foundmuch good and much evil—evil acquired through a feudalorder that, in my opinion, remains the Arab's greatest enemyand his greatest barrier to emergence from the dark ages. I amgrateful for Arab hospitality and the kindness I was shown, buta reporter, like a physician, must not remain blind to the illsplaguing his subject.With no desire to attribute to myself or my writings any
 
viii Prefaceexaggerated importance, it is my fervent hope that the manyArmenians living in the Arab Middle East will not suffer atthe hands of fanatics because an American of Armenian descenthappened to write this book. To them I can only say that Ihave told the story honestly, as I saw it. And to my Arabfriends who asked only that I "tell the truth," I can say in allconscience that I have told the truth. Let me assure them thatI speak in this book as an American, and purely in an individualcapacity, with no tics to or membership in any Armenian-American body save the church into which I was born. Anyretribution against the Armenians—a minority island in aMoslem sea—would be an unwarranted and senseless cruelty.I have written this book with the hope that it will bring bothArabs and Jews into truer focus for the reader; that it will helpreveal what they are and what they are not, what may be ex-pected of them and what is impossible. I pray that these ancientSemitic peoples will reconcile their differences, that Palestinerefugees who, in the main, left their homes because Arableaders urged thern to do so—expecting a short war and a quick victory—will be resettled. The only alternative to peace isdisaster for Arab, Jew, and Christian, for none may hope toprosper alone. Together they may ultimately build a prosperousand democratic Middle East. To remain apart, at dagger'spoint, means only that Communism and anarchy can be theultimate victors.This book could not have been written without the faithand love of friends. It would never have seen the light of daywithout the help of those who stood by steadfastly through thefour stonny years of its preparation and writing, 1947-51. ToHarold Strauss, my editor, and Paul Reynolds, my literaryagent, I am grateful for their continuous faith and patiencesince they took me on four years ago. To the Reverend L. M.Birkhead I am equally thankful for his continued understand-ing and kindness. To Gerold Frank, who helped enormouslyin the editing and in clearing up a vast amount of the under-brush of writing, I especially owe a lasting debt of gratitude.

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