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Recent Reviews for Rosie Malek-Yonan


Rosie Malek-Yonan's THE CRIMSON FIELD (Book) - 7/12/2007 1:44:49 PM
Reveiw by Brian Patrick Clark, Actor (General Hospital/The Bold and the Beautiful) It is with a mix of both trepidation and humility that I approach this, my attempt to do justice to Rosie Malek-Yonan’s exceptional first offering, “The Crimson Field.” Since my ambition herein is to prompt the prospective reader, i.e., “book jacket skimmer,” to do as I personally did: proceed with all alacrity to actually purchase and immediately immerse myself in a personal exploration, I will focus on what I, an actor by trade and an avid reader by avocation, do know: Story. Maghdleta’s extraordinary saga is, in “genre,” another commentary on the remarkable capacity of even the most unassuming and unlikely of our species to endure the inconceivably unendurable -- and to surmount the seemingly most insurmountable of circumstances. “The Crimson Field” is viscerally horrific and palpably heroic. It is likewise a “must read” for these times, as it is a tale both unique (I, personally, was unaware that there had even been an Assyrian genocide, less than one-hundred years past) and frighteningly familiar. Need one look any further than today’s Middle East to foretell the dire prospects attendant to centuries of instability and inhumanity? With an administration in Washington that continues to trumpet its success in “fighting terrorism” and, yet, repeatedly reveals the danger inherent in its ignorance about the region, the people, and, most importantly, the history, “The Crimson Field” is, sadly, a commentary on just how suddenly and grotesquely - things can change. To prevail against one’s enemy, one must first understand one’s enemy. If, in fact, “knowledge is power”, then the benefit in educating oneself through a compelling read of this book is an exponential growth in empowerment. As George Santayana cautioned, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This is NOT a dry, read-yourself-to-sleep, historic narrative. Since Rosie’s “The Crimson Field” is her own ancestral epic saga (i.e., opus magnum), it is with such personal pathos that she has vested her work. The reader not only reads what Magdhleta, her family, and her Assyrian friends and neighbors endured but also feels the pain with intimate immediacy. It is, thus, not a tome for the faint-of-heart. The suffering is real, and the reader who does not connect with shock and revulsion to the magnitude of cruelty brought by man against his fellow man had best reexamine his own desensitized soul. It is simply not possible to ingest this book with the measured passivity of one who has “seen or heard it all.” The humanity, and its converse inhumanity, demands a visceral connection from the reader. It is on this last basis with which I must take exception to one of the prevailing reactions that my friend, Rosie, has enjoyed among her Assyrian readers: “This is our story. This is the story of all the Assyrian people!” At the risk of offending those who, God knows, have already suffered unimaginably, I believe it would be a gross mistake to make claims of exclusivity on this extraordinary book; specificity, inarguably, but exclusivity by its very definition diminishes the potential for universal impact of this gifted author. True, the Assyrian genocide and its nearly three-quarters of a million victims provides the specific setting for “The Crimson Field.” In that sense, it would be absurd to take issue with proprietary reactions from among those whose forebears lived it. However, this book is ultimately so much broader in its application. Change the geographic and temporal settings, change the indigenous peoples, and change the scope of the deeds, and what remains is a too often told tale. The Crusades, The Inquisitions (French and Spanish alike), The Holocaust, and even the give-no-quarter sweep of Alexander the Great share a very familiar thread: pathological pursuit of pleasure by inflicting horror on “others” (that is, anyone whose ideology does not comport with one’s own).

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