This issue marks a milestone for MERIP, as we celebrate this fall our twenty-fifth year as an organization and, in May 1996, 25 years of publication. It also marks a point of transition for me: As those of you who have seen our most recent appeal letter already know, at the end of this year I will be leaving my position here to begin work as the advocacy director of Human Rights Watch/Middle East. Geoff Hartman, who joined our staff in July after 3 years as managing editor of the monthly News from Within in Jerusalem, will take over as editor of this magazine in January.
I am extremely pleased and proud to have been a part of this project from its beginnings — as one of its founders and as the main editor of its magazine and other publications. MERIP has been a core part of my life for quite awhile, and the time has come for me to explore other kinds of work and other challenges. My new position with the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch offers me an opportunity to do just that — continuing to work on the Middle East region and US policy with an organization whose mission I fully support. And my move allows MERIP to bring a new generation of activist-scholars into key staff positions.
There are a number of reasons that MERIP has survived and grown in an era that has witnessed the demise of many other worthy projects and publications. For one thing, MERIP has always been a collaborative effort. Over these years I have had the privilege to work closely with the many committed and talented people who have been part of MERIP’s staff, editorial committee and board — in some cases these collaborations go back more than two decades. I have learned much of what I know about the Middle East from these extraordinary individuals, and from the many more who over the years have contributed their writing and their financial support, as authors and as donors and often as both.
The other reason MERIP is celebrating 25 years, and looking forward to many more, has to do with the fact that we have a remarkably committed core of readers. You continue to be our first line of financial support, and I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for continuing to make this project possible. Many of you responded to our most recent appeal not just with your contributions but with your encouragement. For your words, too, I am grateful.
The reasons we started MERIP 25 years ago are still with us today. More than ever there is a need to write and talk sensibly about the Middle East, to pull apart the stereotypes, and to contest the versions of history and current events imposed by those with the greatest stake in the status quo. We have learned that this is no brief undertaking. I trust that this project will have your continued support, as it does mine.