The charm of stylish dissent: less Chomsky, more poetry. Empires may come and go but Tariq Ali, the rebel who has lost the streets but gained the ghettos, is here to stay, to fight on ... Buy his spirit.”—India Today
“Caustic warnings run through Bush in Babylon: The Recolonisation of Iraq by Tariq Ali ... who criticises pro-American academic and media apologists for stressing that Bush’s policies are ‘the only way to stabilise the world’ ... undeniably passionate.”—Financial Times
“A precious jewel of a book.”—Il Manifesto, Rome
“Hard facts, sharp political analysis and literary insertions that evoke the richness of Arab culture ... unlikely to soothe the middle-class nerves of our harmony-seeking ‘Gutmenschen.’”—Suddeutsche Zeitung
“Tariq Ali ... has poured all his caustic verve and literary talent into this essay on the modern history of Iraq. Drawing on the work of great Arab historians, but also on personal testimony and the works of different Iraqi poets, he reconstitutes the principal moments of a tragic history—a pitiless dissection of the lies used by the Anglo-American leaders to legitimate their recent imperial expedition in Iraq.”—Le Monde Diplomatique
“A strikingly erudite tour of Iraqi and Middle Eastern history and, at points, a survey of the work of secular-nationalist Arabic poets such as the Syrian Nizar Qabbani and the Iraqi exile Mudhaffar al-Nawab.”—Philadelphia City Paper
“An often compelling insider’s perspective—with some valuable insights into the sensitivities that explain why the occupying coalition in Iraq is not being treated as a savior.”—New York Times Book Review
London-based writer and filmmaker Ali has followed his careful and elaborate study of Islam and imperialism, The Clash of Fundamentalisms, with this short and quick response to the 2003 Iraq war. This time around, he delivers a plaintive, choppy rant instead of an organized, thorough analysis. Appalled by Western (he calls it Northern) arrogance, he begins by condemning local collaborators and praising the "purity and moral integrity" of poets and children (who taunt the occupiers). After two chapters of this high-handedness, he rapidly shifts his focus away from the social and cultural and launches into a political history of modern Iraq. Starting with the post-WWI British occupation and ending with the current U.S.-British occupation, he contends that the era between these official occupations was an interruption of the natural expansion of the capitalist order by the very real threat of a global Communist revolution. The countries of the South might not have been physically occupied by the rival Northern powers, but they were patronized, infiltrated and manipulated. The current conquest of Iraq, Ali concludes, is "part of a long historical process that was disrupted by the twentieth century and is now back on course." What disrupted the process was the Cold War, and now that the Soviet Union is gone, there is no serious obstacle-other than indigenous resistance-in the path of colonial capitalism. Ali's summary of history from inside the radical Arab left-he gives extended attention to 1958, the peak of popularity for the Iraqi Communist Party-is intended as "a warning to both occupier and resister" that the current course of history is toward more violence and inequality. (Nov. 6) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.