From the Introduction by Nadim Shehadi, St Antony’s College, Oxford, and Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs
These four volumes on the Druzes as a minority community form part of a document collection prepared by Archive Editions which includes material in other volumes on many other minorities in the Middle East. The work is published at a time when the question of minorities and ethnicities and their role in the region is of great significance and at the forefront of political and ethical discussion. These issues, which were eclipsed by authoritarian regimes and by the rhetoric of Arab nationalism and pan-Arabism, as well as by fashions in ideas, have now resurfaced. This is a process that began in the Balkans in the late 1980s with the Yugoslav crisis and is now unfolding in the Middle East, where it is most salient in Iraq. This awakens echoes of crises past in such areas, where the dismantling of empires made these regions the fault lines of disappearing and emerging international systems. Hence the events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the interaction between the Western powers - in their rivalries and interventions as well as in their policies towards the Ottoman Empire - and the minorities of the region are of interest to understanding the world we live in now. The editor of this collection, Beitullah Destani, brings to the task an extensive knowledge of the Balkans and a keen interest in the conditions of minority communities. Such sensitivity and expertise have been applied to the selection of documents in these volumes, making them a most valuable contribution to historical study.
ARRANGEMENT OF VOLUMES