miriam cooke

War’s Other Voices: Women Writers in the Lebanese Civil War (Arabic Translation, 2005)

Translated by Salah Hazin By examining the writings of Lebanese women she calls the Beirut Decentrists, Miriam Cooke challenges the notion that only men write about war. Although of differing political and religious beliefs, it is these Decentrists–women bound by common exclusion from both the literary canon and social discourse–whose vision will rebuild shattered Lebanon. The author traces the transformation in consciousness that took place among women who observed and recorded the progress toward chaos in Lebanon. During the so-called two-year war of 1975-6, little comment was made about those who left the cauldron of violence (usually men in search of economic security), but with time attitudes changed. Women became increasingly aware that they had stayed out of responsibility for others and that they had survived. This growing awareness served as a catalyst, and the Beirut Decentrists began describing a society that had gone beyond the masculinization normal in most wars and achieved an almost unprecedented feminization. Emigration, expected behavior for men before 1975, was rejected; staying, expected behavior for women before 1975, became the standard of Lebanese citizenship. The writings of the Beirut Decentrists offer a way out of anarchy. If men and women could espouse the Lebanese woman’s sense of responsibility, the energy that fueled unrelenting savagery could be turned to reconstruction. Published Reviews:
  • Journal of Arabic Literature 25/3, 1994
  • Al-Hayat, No. 10211, January 18, 1991
  • MERIP, January – February 1991
  • Belles Letters, Volume 6, 1991
  • Women’s Studies International Forum, Volume 13, 1990
  • Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, 1990 Volume 24
  • Orient, 31:3, 1990
  • IJMES, August 1990
  • Middle East Journal, Summer 1989, 43:3
  • American Book Review, July – August 1989, 11/3
  • Women’s Review of Books, September 1989 #6
  • Al-Hawadeth, December 5, 1989
  • Now, January 1988, Volume 7
  • The Bookseller, February 1988
  • Calgary Herald, February 1988
  • Middle East International, 11 June 1988, Volume 6
  • Choice, July-August 1988
  • Al-Hawadeth, 19/8/1988
  • World Literature Today, Autumn 1988
  • AMEWS Newsletter, October 1988, Volume 8
  • Jerusalem Star, December 1988
  • Al-Raida, 1988
  • Studies on Women Abstracts, 1988 Volume 6
  • Choice, January 1997
  • Middle East Report, Spring 2000