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Preface to the eleventh edition


One locust drawn on the back of one of the most important early 20th century Arab paintings was thought to be an anomaly, maybe even the work of a vandal.

But the subsequent discovery of eight other locusts on the backs of other canonical paintings from Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon demonstrated that this was no accident.

Further analysis revealed that the locust works were drawn between 1917 and 1921, following the 1915 locust infestation that devastated the region, leading to a famine that killed hundreds of thousands.

The locust artist, whether mischief maker, keen observer, or deeply bereaved, remains nameless.

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