A rich, important, and fascinating study. Troubling programmatic accounts of conflict resolution and challenging traditional approaches to the study of Arab and Arab-Islamic discourse, Diab offers a groundbreaking investigation into the initiation, performance, and stakes of sulh. She sheds crucial light on the deep and complex relationship between peacemaking, transitional justice, and reconciliation. Her work deserves close consideration by scholars of rhetoric, politics, Islamic studies, law, anthropology, and human rights.
Sulh is a centuries-old Arab-Islamic peacemaking process. In Shades of Sulh, Rasha Diab explores the possibilities of the rhetoric of sulh, as it is used to resolve intrapersonal, interpersonal, communal, national, and international conflicts, and provides cases that illustrate each of these domains. Diab demonstrates the adaptability and range of sulh as a ritual and practice that travels across spheres of activity (juridical, extra-juridical, political, diplomatic), through time (medieval, modern, contemporary), and over geopolitical borders (Cairo, Galilee, and Medina). Together, the cases prove the flexibility of sulh in the discourse of peacemaking—and that sulh has remarkable rhetorical longevity, versatility, and richness. Shades of Sulh sheds new light on rhetorics of reconciliation, human rights discourse, and Arab-Islamic rhetorics.
This in-depth examination of sulh rhetoric is much needed and makes an essential contribution to the study of sulh as an indigenous and homegrown peacemaking tool. Rooted in Arab and Islamic cultural and religious sources, sulh indeed can be seen as 'the gift of possibility' for many of our current challenges in responding to conflicts.
Rasha Diab undertakes a major comparative project, one that travels through centuries and across cultures to engage questions of violence and peace, justice and reconciliation, and the ways in which communities maintain shared values. In doing so, she judiciously undertakes the construction of significant, new rhetorical relationships.