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A Death in Dohuk: Roger C. Cumberland, Mission and Politics among the Kurds in Northern Iraq, 1923–1938

Charles A. Dana, Joe P. Dunn


Presbyterian missionary Reverend Roger C. Cumberland was murdered in Dohuk, in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, in June 1938. One eulogy remarked tersely, this is just another in the long line of martyrdoms that come to those who go into the hard places to witness by word and life to the love of God in Christ. No matter how true that statement may be, it is quite inadequate for the man and his life. Cumberland, one of the pioneer mission workers in this region after World War I, served at a pivotal time in the formation of the modem Middle East, most particularly at the birth of the state of Iraq. Cumberland was an ordinary individual whose contribution to history was to live among a people, to observe, to assist when and as needed, to reflect in his daily life the faith he professed, and as opportunity presented itself to speak and teach about Christianity in a region where this activity was a challenging and potentially dangerous pursuit.

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Published by the University of Florida Press on behalf of the Association of Global South Studies.