It seems like everyone in my field of vision has been paying just a little more attention recently to the Middle East and North Africa — from lawyer-blogger Yasser Latif Hamdani calling 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai “Pakistan’s Jeanne d’Arc” in Pakistan’s Daily Times, to the televised US presidential debates on foreign policy that included at least 185 references to the Middle East, to a friend of mine coming back from hanging art in Tunisia and plastering her photos of it all over Facebook.
But the region, as with any region, is more than its headlines. It is complex, diverse, and its history runs much deeper than the latest tweet or status update about it. . .