ICC Note: Klaus Wivel has brought much-needed attention to the plight of Middle Eastern Christians in his new book, “The Last Supper: The Plight of Christians in Arab Lands.” As conflict and genocide continue to rattle the Middle East, it is truly astonishing that mainstream western media has given it so little attention. As if the total and selective destruction of a people group is by some means a partisan issue. The slaughter of thousands in the name of Islam is not a politically and ideologically driven agenda point but rather a human issue that needs to be recognized as a whole.
06/25/2016 Israel (Haaretz): “The Last Supper: The Plight of Christians in Arab Lands,” by Klaus Wivel (translated by Mark Kline), New Vessel Press, 250 pp., $16.95
For a conflict so often compared to a crusade, the Iraq War has been devastating for Christians in the Middle East. Throughout the region, not only in Iraq, the violence, instability, and Islamism that have arisen in its wake have driven Christians from their homes and communities to seek refuge abroad. If current trends continue, experts say the next several decades could witness the death of Christianity in the very lands where it was born.
Given the Western media’s incessant coverage of the Middle East, it is surprising that the plight of the region’s Christian minority – a million of whom have fled Iraq alone since Saddam’s fall – receives so little attention. Especially for European and American liberals, focusing on the suffering of Christians as Christians seem somehow distasteful or partisan. Many recoils from the ideologically driven conservative and religious groups who advocate for the cause of Middle Eastern Christians, as if the destruction of churches and murder of parishioners were a ploy to advance these groups’ agendas. Even more fundamentally, many liberals adhere to the belief, borne out of a desire to correct historical injustice and widespread racism and Islamophobia today, that Muslims – colonized, Orientalized, and demonized by the West – are the Middle East’s sole victims.
In his new book “The Last Supper: The Plight of Christians in Arab Lands,” Danish journalist Klaus Wivel delves into these thorny issues. Wivel, who has decades of experience covering the region for the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen, has written a deeply reported, nuanced, and compelling account of Christians in the West Bank and Gaza, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq.