Liberal Grace

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Reading Room: The granddaddy of Partitions

In the coming months you'll be hearing more and more about partitioning Iraq.

Peter Galbraith has been the leading proponent of this and the conservatives swiftboated him as a "cut and runner" for it.

Rumors are that Bush is going to adopt the partition proposal in the next year.

Partitions have always sounded better in theory than in messy reality. I can think of cases where countries were divided up and there has been has been horrific blood letting: Israel out of Palestine; Bosnia out of Yugoslavia; Eritrea out of Etheopia.

But the granddaddy of them all was Pakistan out of India. I strongly recommend that anyone who is enthusiastic about Iraq's partition, read about India's partition.

I suggest Freedom at Midnight for the average person because it reads like a novel. The sections on the violence of partition are vivid and chilling. I've read this book a couple of times.

Probably even better is Liberty or Death - India's Journey to Independence and Division by Patrick French. If you like history written like history, rather than a novel, this is the better book. I've had both Indian and Pakistan friends recommend this book which is a good testimony to its balance.


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