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Shades of Sulh

Shades of Sulh: The Rhetorics of Arab-Islamic Reconciliation

Copyright Date: 2016
Pages: 240
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    Shades of Sulh
    Book Description:

    Sulh is a centuries-old Arab-Islamic peacemaking process. InShades ofSulh, Rasha Diab explores the possibilities of the rhetoric of sulh, as it is used to resolve intrapersonal, interpersonal, communal, national, and international conflicts, and provides cases that illustrate each of these domains. Diab demonstrates the adaptability and range of sulh as a ritual and practice that travels across spheres of activity (juridical, extra-juridical, political, diplomatic), through time (medieval, modern, contemporary), and over geopolitical borders (Cairo, Galilee, and Medina). Together, the cases prove the flexibility of sulh in the discourse of peacemaking-and that sulh has remarkable rhetorical longevity, versatility, and richness.Shades ofSulhsheds new light on rhetorics of reconciliation, human rights discourse, and Arab-Islamic rhetorics.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-8134-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. ix-2)
  4. INTRODUCTION Discursive Spaces for Peace (pp. 3-19)

    This project began as an interest in al-Sādāt’s 1977 peace initiative and sought to capture an elusive rhetorical dimension of al-Sādāt’s Knesset address, which I first recognized as exemplary and savvy presidential rhetoric and then as a strategic fusion of epideictic and deliberative rhetoric. Little did I realize that I was intrigued by the invisible presence of a culturally inflected peacemaking practice calledṣulḥ, especially as it intersects with and is potentially eclipsed by diplomatic discourse.Shades of Ṣulḥmoves beyond this early interest in al-Sādāt’s Knesset address and explicates the variegated nature and flexibility of ṣulḥ practices using a...

  5. 1 PEACEMAKING TOPOI Cultural Iterations of Relational and Moral Needs (pp. 20-52)

    Tutu’s words underline the desire to heal, loosen the grip of grim realities, and chart a new future. As he seeks to transform the realities of South Africa’s apartheid, Tutu encapsulates an enduring exigence for peacemaking. Across different cases of conflict/conflict resolution, across cultures, and across multidisciplinary scholarship, people attempt to counter conflict/violence and embrace the journey toward healing. In their work, pouring balm over wounds, we can discern recurring reconciliation topoi. Each focuses on a central question: How do we confront/deal with the past? How do we attain justice and balance the needs of stakeholders? and How do we...

  6. 2 THE POWER OF SWEET PERSUASION Cultural Inflections of Interpersonal Ṣulḥ Rhetorics (pp. 53-80)

    Living in Cairo in the 1990s, I was inundated by Nādiah Muṣṭafá’s coaxing, playful call for reconciliation, which is largely captured in the first stanza quoted above.¹ I interpreted this song—“al-ṣulḥ khayr” (literally “conciliation is good”)—as a romantically charged inducement to renounce hostility and embrace reconciliation. Little did I know that “al-ṣulḥ khayr” is a unique song: not only does it capture the emotive and interactional vocabulary of ṣulḥ’s conciliatory “sweet persuasion” (Lang)—the power of using kind and sweet words to cool anger and reach out to reconciliation—but it also circulates moral and relational imperatives, imperatives...

  7. 3 WE THE RECONCILED The Convergence of Ṣulḥ and Human Rights (pp. 81-111)

    Since the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948, there has been renewed interest in the discourses of human rights, which by affirming rights, proactively prevent violence. But this interest in human rights is neither unprecedented nor is it likely to cease. Indeed, with the proliferation of discourses of rights in the Middle East, as manifest in the Arab Spring as well as “Black Lives Matter” slogan and the Occupy Movement in the United States and around the world, there has been a conspicuous uptake of the discourses of human, economic, civic, and political rights. Concomitantly,...

  8. 4 FROM THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY TO THE ISRAELI KNESSET al-Sādāt’s Knesset Address, Ṣulḥ, and Diplomacy (pp. 112-160)

    In late November 1977, Muḥammad Anwar al-Sādāt undertook a risky and highly visible trip across the Egyptian-Israeli border to visit with the Knesset. The epigraph above comes from his Knesset address (hereafter KA) and sums up its overall goal, which sought to enable deliberation commensurate with the gravity of a series of wars and to attain peace. al-Sādāt’s KA interrupted and transformed a prolonged diplomatic stalemate, resuscitated peace talks, and eventually led to the Camp David Treaty. The KA and texts it deliberateswithandagainstare the focal point of this chapter.

    This chapter offers a bidimensional reading of...

  9. 5 TO GATHER AT COURT Ṣulḥ as Rhetorical Method (pp. 161-191)

    The Great Court of Sulḥ (GCS) is a deceptively simple, seemingly straightforward, and at times very entertaining, if not funny, dialogue written by Muḥammad Māḍī Abū al-‘Azā’im (1869–1937), a well-known theologian and professor ofsharī‘ah(Islamic law). Writing on issues ranging from Qur’ānic interpretation, Sufi poetry and doctrine, and current political and (inter)national issues, he was prolific. GCS was written in the context of international efforts to end World War I and the convening of nations to attempt to end the state of war and find a formula for peace. Eventually, these efforts led to the Treaty of Versailles...

  10. CONCLUSION The Gift of Possibility (pp. 192-200)

    This book points to a seldom-told story. This is a story of the gift of realizing an alternative possibility. Every time we witness conflict, we are given the two-sided gift of possibility: on one side we have plight, and on the other we have possibility. Plight offers us a necessary—only because we deem it so—juxtaposition, insight into, and a yearning for whatcanandoughtto be. A possibility for peace, one foreclosed by violence, emerges. This book focuses on the gift of possibility and the rhetorical work that realizes this gift in terms of ṣulḥ practices. Indeed,...

  11. NOTES (pp. 201-220)
  12. WORKS CITED (pp. 221-238)
  13. INDEX (pp. 239-248)