REBEL LAND: UNRAVELING THE RIDDLE OF HISTORY IN A TURKISH TOWN
by Christopher de Bellaigue
Penguin Press, 2010
A work of taut and absorbing beauty, Christopher de Bellaigue’s Rebel Land documents the author’s exploration of the area known as eastern Turkey, where history is simultaneously elusive and oppressive, cloaked and hiding in plain sight.
From the weather-beaten ruins of a church; to a slip of the tongue over drinks; or to a conversation where commission, at least of a conceptual sort, is betrayed by an important omission in one’s account of a massacre that occurred almost one hundred years ago — in places like these, history hangs in the air.
“It is not for nothing,” the author observes, “that eastern Turkey, a.k.a western Armenia, a.k.a. northern Kurdistan, has never properly been scrutinized.” De Bellaigue, a former Turkey correspondent for the Economist who spent years living in Istanbul, immersing himself in Turkish culture, language, and — importantly — history, returned to explore the history of the District of Varto, in Turkey’s Kurdish East.
Dorfman, Zach. 2011. Blood Brothers. Tikkun 26(3).