September 15, 2013
Conversations with John le Carré
By Philippe Sands
The master novelist discusses spooks, the ‘secret world’, Edward Snowden and Syria with his neighbour Philippe Sands
I am sitting in a sunny and perfectly ordered garden in north London, engaged in tea and conversation with my neighbour David Cornwell, the writer John le Carré. We cover our usual topics (Hampstead, Britain, his books and films, my legal cases), reflecting on the state of the world and his appearance at the Hay Festival earlier this summer, where I had interviewed him. “I do think we live in most extraordinary period of history,” he says now. “The fact that we feel becalmed is the element that is most terrifying, the second-rate quality of leadership, the third-rate quality of parliamentary behaviour.”
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June 5, 2013
Recent Palestinian Literary Activism
Poetry has a long history in the Middle East (as author Khaled Furani examines in one of the new books listed below), and Palestinians in the footsteps of Mahmoud Darwish and many other predecessors are turning to poetry and forms of new literacies to deal with the political turmoil of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa recently published a poem for Samer Issawi, the Palestinian activist currently imprisoned in Israel. In February 2013, a movement began to increase awareness of the state of Issawi and a few other Palestinian prisoners who had all been on a hunger strike since August 2012. Also in February, Palestinian-American poet and human-rights activist Remi Kanazi performed poetry regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and injustices in general for student activist groups at Swarthmore College.
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January 5, 2013
Al Jazeera Coming to 40 Million US Homes
The right-wing attacks and fear mongering are in full swing but the day has finally arrived.
A cable news network broadcasting in the US whose news coverage and analysis will offer a different perspective that will not serve as a mouthpiece for the US government.
Will America survive?
July 8, 2011
Is Palestine Next?
By Adam Shatz
No one in the Arab world was watching the news more closely than the Palestinians during the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. The first emotion they experienced was disbelief; the second – particularly when they saw Palestinian flags being raised in Tahrir Square –was relief that they were no longer alone. Arab lethargy has been a virtual article of faith among Palestinians, who felt that their neighbours had betrayed them in 1948 and had done nothing to help them since.
The Palestinian national movement, which rose to prominence under Yasir Arafat’s leadership in the late 1960s, was defined in large part by its belief that Palestinians had to rely on themselves. Mahmoud Darwish was not the only one to note that during the siege of Beirut in 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon in an attempt to crush the PLO, tens of thousands of Israelis protested in Tel Aviv but the Arabs were too busy watching the World Cup Final to take to the streets.
The old Arab order was buried in Tahrir Square. Young revolutionaries rose up against a regime which for three decades had stood in the way of Palestinian aspirations. It seemed too good to be true and some pundits in Palestine wondered whether it wasn’t an American conspiracy. But it wasn’t, and Palestinians began to re-examine what had been one of their most disabling convictions: the belief that the US controls the Middle Eastern chessboard, and that the Arab world is powerless against America and Israel. ‘There has been a kind of epistemic break,’ a young Palestinian said to me.
The excitement among Palestinians sometimes seems to be mixed with unease, even envy: the spotlight has been stolen from them. As a Hamas councilwoman in Nablus put it, ‘For 60 years they were watching us. Now we are watching them.’ But Palestinians have prided themselves on being the vanguard of protest in the Arab world and they will not be content to remain spectators for long.
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June 30, 2011
Here’s Tariq Ali being interviewed on the Al Jazeera English program “One on One”.
Ali talks about his family and life growing up in Pakistan, his political activism, his books and lots more.