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Phyllis Chesler
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Posted in: Letters To Readers

Published on Dec 17, 2012 by Phyllis Chesler

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If My Work Has Found Favor In Your Eyes...

Dearest People:

Please forgive my extraordinary silence. Know that I have continued my life's work as a wordsmith. My new book is now almost final.

I forgot how much I enjoy writing books. I will never forget this again. One escapes time, one leaves one's own time in history in order to hunt for buried treasure which patience, discipline, and solitude, allow one to find.

Yes, writing and conducting studies that only I can do remains my civic duty and also my joy. You will be hearing my voice "out there" soon enough. But allow me to linger a bit longer in the playing fields of dreams and memories. It is hard to be a journalist-activist and write a book for the ages.

In 2012, I was blessed with a second granddaughter. Of course, both granddaughters are precious and teach me, yet again, about human nature. I am a restless spirit and yet with them and their parents, I find some measure of peaceful contentment.

This past year, I published my third study about honor killings in Middle East Quarterly ("Hindu vs Muslim Honor Killings")—and was interviewed widely on the subject; an article based on a conversation that I had with R.D. Laing in 1972 and it appears in a work titled R.D. Laing. 50 Years Since The Divided Self, edited by Theodor Itten and Courtenay Young; an article titled "Envious Mothers and Beautiful High Spirited Daughters: The First Step Towards Woman's Inhumanity to Woman," in Moms Gone Mad. Motherhood and Madness, Oppression and Resistance, edited by Gina Wong; and an obituary of Shulie Firestone in the cultural journal, N + 1. I have posted a number of tributes to feminists and have written and delivered too many obituaries, some of which are now archived at my website.

Allow me to recommend four films: Argo, Anna Karenina, Herzl, and A Royal Affair. Anna Karenina is theatrically exciting and A Royal Affair is haunting and beautiful; the themes are somewhat similar. Argo—well, I am sure you have all seen it. I have written about what Khomeini and his henchmen did to American Embassy personnel many times but even I did not know that some Americans and Canadians were actually rescued by a CIA agent. My congratulations to Ben Affleck for directing and acting in such a riveting film. Herzl is a very moving documentary. My congratulations to the Director, Richard Trank and the Simon Wiesenthal Foundation.

As to books I would like to recommend to you—where shall I start? Andre Aciman's nostalgic and beautifully written elegy for his family's life in Alexandria, Egypt, and their forced expulsion as Jews; Marina Warner's genuinely exciting work about the Arabian Nights: Stranger Magic. Charmed States and the Arabian Nights; David Cohen's riveting book: The Escape of Sigmund Freud. Freud's Final Years in Vienna And His Flight>From The Nazi Rise.

As the author of Mothers on Trial. The Battle for Children and Custody, I also enjoyed Janet Malcolm's book Iphighenia in Queens and her spectacular three-part series in the New York Review of Books (2012), about what happened to the child whose Bokharian physician-mother was convicted for having her dentist-father murdered. This is some of my light, escape reading.

Allow me to praise Daniel Pipes for his high quality work— for his long-range strategic view of any given matter; especially, for his sturdy optimism; Guilio Meotti, Barry Rubin and Richard Landes are must-read guys on Israel, anti-Semitism, and the Middle East as are the divine Carolyn Glick and Melanie Phillips. I wish to congratulate one particular listserv group on which I serve—I am usually a silent member—but they are challenging media bias and coasting the narrative curve in creative and expert ways. I will say no more about this team of internet warriors.

I expect to be working on a new study about honor killing and posting columns more frequently. I will be promoting the issues raised by my new book (let it remain a mystery until it is all dressed up and ready to dance). I will be posting articles on many subjects including honor-related crimes, gender and religious apartheid, Islamist terrorism, Israel, toxic propaganda, motherhood, female psychology, male psychology, feminism.

If my work has found favor in your eyes, now would be an excellent time to make a donation to my not-for-profit organization which you may access at my website. I am deeply grateful for the philanthropic generosity of four people, without whom I could not do my work.

Happy Holidays to you all.

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