Abbas El-Zein a featured author
3 April 2009
Associate Professor Abbas El-Zein has recently published his autobiography, 'Leave to Remain", telling his story of growing up in civil-war Beirut, a city in the throes of self-destruction.
In Leave to Remain: A Memoir, Abbas El-Zein tells his story of growing up in civil-war Beirut, a city in the throes of self-destruction, yet obstinately clinging to its cosmopolitan past. El-Zein traces the genesis of a contemporary Middle Eastern identity - his own - under the influence of culture, religion, history and places far removed from where he grew up: Najaf and Baghdad, Paris, Palestine, London, Sydney and the American Far West. With him we travel through a Middle-Eastern life with an eye on the mundane and the everyday, as well as the cataclysmic events overshadowing them - from the adventures of an ancestor fleeing Ottoman armies during the Napoleonic wars to the trans-national world of Islamic scholarship in which his grandfathers lived, from the Israeli invasions of Lebanon to the Iraq war and the post-September 11 world of today. Leave to Remain is a story of a troubled homeland, of many departures and less-than-happy returns - an autobiographical reflection on today's Middle East and its relationship with the West.