I finished writing the first edition of my book Le Proche-Orient éclaté in June 1982 when I was living in Ras Beirut. The building I lived in near UNESCO often shook from the barrage of deadly Israeli missiles showering this part of Beirut. At that time, I realized that the Israeli invasion of the capital of Lebanon, the landmark of literature and culture for all Arab peoples, was announcing the beginning of the disunion of Arab communities, the dissolution of their political infrastructures, and the retreat of their representatives who stood there watching the tragedy unfold. Perhaps they were merely paying more attention to the World Cup football game that was then...

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