"The Levant Express" by Micheline R.              Ishay

The Levant Express The Arab Uprisings, Human Rights, and the Future of the Middle East Micheline R. Ishay

Publication date:
20 Aug 2019
Yale University Press
344 pages: 235 x 156mm
33 b-w illus.

Many people were filled with hope for the Middle East in 2011, when the Arab Spring began, but now look upon the region with despair. Of the nations that sought to remove autocratic regimes and install new democracies, only Tunisia retains some hope for human rights. Libya is a failed state; Egypt returned to military dictatorship; the Gulf States suppressed popular protests and tightened control; and Syria and Yemen are ravaged by civil war.

Challenging the widely shared pessimism among regional experts, Micheline Ishay charts bold and realistic pathways for human rights in a region beset by political repression, economic distress, sectarian conflict, a refugee crisis and violence against women. With due attention to how patterns of revolution and counterrevolution play out in different societies and historical contexts, Ishay reveals the progressive potential of subterranean human rights forces and offers strategies for transforming current realities in the Middle East.

Micheline R. Ishay is distinguished professor of international studies and human rights at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

"Comprehensive and refreshing, The Levant Express provides perceptive, timely, and provocative analysis and much-needed insight for those seeking to address the new and even unforeseen challenges facing the Middle East."—Mahmood Monshipouri, San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley


"Micheline Ishay observes history and the Arab uprisings and applies a human rights lens on a possible 're-routing of the Levant Express' for the region as a whole.This master of the metaphor has produced a highly readable study that is well documented, empathic, and hopeful."—Valentine M. Moghadam, author of Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East


"Deep empathy accompanies Micheline Ishay’s scholarly lament for the Arab Spring. Ever the optimist, she believes the train can be put on the tracks again. Only time will tell."—Shlomo Avineri, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"The Levant Express is a beautiful, challenging, and deeply humane book that combines a  journey of personal discovery with a cosmopolitan commitment to civil rights. ...A seminal work that is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics of our times."—Stephen Eric Bronner, Board of Governors Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University