The Jackals’ Wedding

jackals.jpg

To coincide with the release of the Cabinet Papers from 1974, The Currency Lad wrote a rather acerbic post on Gough Whitlam. Some how or other (as you do in the blogosphere), I ended up debating the contribution that Islamic civilization has made with a number of commenters on the thread. It was somewhat surprising to me that supporters of the Iraq War, and perhaps adherents of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilisations” thesis, were prepared to blandly assert that Islamic civilisation had made no contribution to modern culture. Particularly in light of the claim by Paul Wolfowitz that it was opponents of the Iraq War who expressed disdain for the culture of Iraq.

The works of philosophers like Aristotle were reintroduced to Europe from the Arab world, leading to a revival of philosophy (initially scholastic) and over the long term, the growth of scientific knowledge and through Aristotelian influence on thinkers like Machiavelli, a secular state. Europeans also learnt arithmetic from the Middle East. Later on, the Ottoman Empire provided a prototype of a form of government tolerant to religious minorities (Christians and Jews had their own administrative and judicial institutions).

Historians recognise that civilisations were and are porous. The medieval and early modern periods were characterised by frequent intellectual interchange, not to mention trade relations between Christendom and the Islamic world, and not just conflict. And one of the biggest questions of history – asked for instance by American historian Paul Kennedy as well as the great Annales scholar Fernand Braudel – was why given that Europe was arguably on par or behind the Ottoman Empire (as well as China) in the Fifteenth Century, did Western culture and politics and economics come to prevail. The most likely answer is the absence of a unified regime in Europe and the consequent spur to innovation from military and economic competition.

But actually I wanted to talk about Middle-Eastern poetry.

As Adrienne Rich observes in an excellent review essay on a recent compilation of Iraqi poetry, the riches of the Persian and Arabic poetic and literary traditions are inestimable.

Tariq Ali writes meaningfully of the sentiments and power expressed in Iraqi Poetry – largely written by exiles from Saddam – in his book Bush in Babylon. Here’s one of the poems he cites, ‘The Jackals’ Wedding’ by Saadi Youssef:

O Mudhaffar al-Nawab,
my life-long comrade,
what are we to do about the jackals’ wedding?

You remember the old days:
In the cool of the evening
under a bamboo roof
propped on soft cushions stuffed with fine wool
we’d sip tea (a tea I’ve never since tasted)
among friends…
Night falls as softly as our words
under the darkening crowns of the date palms
while smoke curls from the hearth, such fragrance
as if the universe had just begun

Then a cackling explodes
from the long grass and date palms –
the jackals’ wedding!

O, Mudhaffar al-Nawab
today isn’t yesterday
(truth is as evanescent as the dream of a child)
truth is, this time we’re at their wedding reception.
yes, the jackals’ wedding
you’ve read their invitation:

For tho’ we trudge past Dahna empty-handed
We depart Dareen our purses lined with gold.
‘While the townsfolk attend to their affairs
Now, Zuraik, fleece them, quick as a fox!’


O, Mudhaffar al-Nawab
let’s make a deal:

I’ll go in your place
(Damascus is too far away from that secret hotel…)
I’ll spit in the jackals’ faces,
I’ll spit on their lists.
I’ll declare that we are the people of Iraq –
we are the ancestral trees of this land,
proud beneath our modest roof of bamboo.

Ali notes that the Iraqi Governing Council soon became known by many Iraqis as ‘The Jackals’ Wedding’.

Edward Said notes that Orientalism effaces the voice of the other. Ali draws our attention to the rich oral and poetic culture of the Middle East. Voices like Youssef’s are worth listening to. It would repay all of us to do so, particularly those who claim that the Iraqi War was fought in the name of the people of Iraq.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
This entry was posted in History, Literature, Politics - international, Religion, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
29 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
harry
harry
2022 years ago

Maybe when people say that the Islamic world contributed nothing they mean nothing as in zero.

Caesar’s “Gallic Wars” only exists because the Arabs kept a copy.

Concerning poetry, the Romantic Period in Europe was greatly influenced and inspired by Persian and Arab writers and poets – not the least of whom were the Sufis such as Rumi.

Fyodor
2022 years ago

Mark,

As usual I suspect you’re preaching (excuse the pun) to the converted here, whereas the wilfully ignorant on RWDB blogs find it very confronting to have their prejudices challenged by the facts.

You can’t really be surprised by this, can you?

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Fyodor, I guess not – but I have the space to say a lot more over here than I can in a comments thread. There’s always the chance some of the RWDBs in question will see the trackback and come and read this, and learn something. I live in hope.

Fyodor
2022 years ago

Good on you for trying. Personally, I’m a little pessimistic with most of these people. The Bushyverse is a black and white place and its denizens want to paint their opponents very black indeed. It’s much easier to hate a religion/culture/ethnic group if they have NO redeeming features whatsoever. It makes moral decisions on issues like war, torture and extra-judicial execution psychologically easier for otherwise decent people. No wonder they react with hostility when you dare to muddy their moral clarity.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Gee, listen to yourselves!!!

Yes, many of the RWDB crowd are pig ignorant, and blind to reason.

And so are many on the Left. Bit rich to hear Messers Fyodor and Basnisch cast aspertions on anyone else

And a great literary tradition does not a civillisation make. Russia has a collossal literary canon, and its not worth a bean to the reality of Russian culture or public life.

Fyodor
2022 years ago

Scott,

I’m not defending ignorant lefties, just criticising the ignorant righties. If you want to defend the claim that Islam contributed nothing to the world, please proceed.

Are you asserting that Russia is not civilised? Your comments about the “reality of Russian culture or public life” require some evidence. In my time in Russia I regularly met ordinary Russians who could quote Pushkin (as well as Shakespeare), had seen Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas and could place Iraq on a world map. It seemed a very cultured and civilised (albeit grimly improverished) place to me.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

I want to make a distinction between civillisations and individuals.

Seriously, what contribution has Islamic societies given to the wider global civillisation since about 1600? Precious little, I would assert, and the contributions of Muslims since then have as often as not been in the context of Muslim people working through non Muslim societies. Consider Said or Rushdie.

As to Russia, well, quoting Pushkin must have been a great comfort to people who were victims of the Russian state, whether Tsarist, Communist, or Oligarchist.

Russians as individuals are often very civillised people indeed. Russia as a civillisation is not.

Let us be honest here- if a civillisation can not allow the majority of its citizens a decent life, with liberty and room to experiment and grow, what value is it, really?

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Mark says “And one of the biggest questions of history – asked for instance by American historian Paul Kennedy as well as the great Annales scholar Fernand Braudel – was why given that Europe was arguably on par or behind the Ottoman Empire (as well as China) in the Fifteenth Century, did Western culture and politics and economics come to prevail. The most likely answer is the absence of a unified regime in Europe and the consequent spur to innovation from military and economic competition.”

This is interesting, given recent European trends. Is Europe likely to stagnate again with the slow but inexoriable impostion of a central unified regime? Given the EU constitution, I would assert EU stagnation is almost inevitable. If I may be permitted an historical analogy, consider Rome under Marcus Aurelious.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Scott, don’t you think it’s necessary to distinguish between the peoples and the repressive states? Where democracy has been instituted – ie in Indonesia and even Palestine, Islamic people have taken to it like a duck to water. A lot of the diasporic talent that you identify left because of oppression from repressive regimes. One could add to the list the many talented Egyptian writers and academics who’ve gone into exile of repressive government measures against freedom of speech.

I think it’s clear that Islamic people are keen to embrace freedoms such as freedom of speech and self-determination. That after all was the motivation for Bush’s policy. The methods (and probably the intentions) are wrong, but the initiative to try to get repressive and corrupt regimes to reform is laudable.

As to Europe, my point was mainly that European civilisation (spreading to America in the 17th century) is now the dominant one. The EU question is a bit different. I’ll have a think about that one and comment later on!

yobbo
2022 years ago

How the fuck would you know what the RWDBs know and don’t know, Mark? You freely admitted yesterday that you don’t read any of them. But it’s they who are ignorant…

Fyodor
2022 years ago

I don’t get your point about 1600. The Roman Empire hasn’t made much of a contribution recently – were they all barbarians too?

Muslims didn’t get much benefit from being subjugated to the Ottoman Empire for most of the period from 1600, but then the Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Incas, Aztecs etc. didn’t do too well under their local and imported rulers. Come to think of it, Islam had a profound effect on the civilisations of the Indian ocean (e.g. the Mughal Empire) in the period after 1600, so your point is probably incorrect as well.

It’s a fact that Western Europe has played a disproportionate role in our modern view of “civilisation”, but that result is as much (if not more) the consequence of economic and technological factors as cultural.

I think you’re way off base on Russia, and I don’t believe you have any real experience of “reality” there. Life’s tough there, and it’s not democratic, but it’s insulting to say the Russsians are uncivilised.

FYI, Rome didn’t stagnate under Marcus Aurelius. He was one of the more dynamic emperors but got dealt a very nasty hand in the barbarian invasion and plague departments. He coped very well. His son Commodus was an imbecile who undid much of his good work.

I don’t see why EU stagnation is inevitable becuase of centralisation. It’s worked quite well for the USA.

I think Paul Kennedy’s British, btw.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

yobbo, I wasn’t trying to generalise. Maybe it looked like that since my comments came in response to Fyodor’s, given that his comments may have been intended to be more generally applicable.

And I did say yesterday I read C.L. – the commenters I was talking about were not RWDBs in general, but a couple of people on that specific thread.

And I’ll have to come clean – I do read EP from time to time. Primarily to find out why he hates Sweden so much.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Dear oh dear. Do you lads even read my posts? Try again.

“I want to make a distinction between civillisations and individuals.”

Okay? That was the first thing that I wrote. And both Fyodor and Mark completely ignored it.

No wonder its so hard to have a dialoge with the Left.

Okay, let’s take apart Fyodor’s comment. I’m unusally bad tempered today.

*I don’t get your point about 1600. The Roman Empire hasn’t made much of a contribution recently – were they all barbarians too?

I dont get YOUR point. Your introducing an irrelevent remark in here.

*Muslims didn’t get much benefit from being subjugated to the Ottoman Empire for most of the period from 1600, but then the Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Incas, Aztecs etc. didn’t do too well under their local and imported rulers. Come to think of it, Islam had a profound effect on the civilisations of the Indian ocean (e.g. the Mughal Empire) in the period after 1600, so your point is probably incorrect as well.

Conceded as per India. The only thing that Muslims did with Europe by then was fight them, but I did forget the Indian example.

*It’s a fact that Western Europe has played a disproportionate role in our modern view of “civilisation”, but that result is as much (if not more) the consequence of economic and technological factors as cultural.

I disagree. Cultural conditions have to be right for technological takeoff to occur. Consider the Chinese example again. Why didn’t technological change that we collectively know as the Industrial Revolution occur there?

*I think you’re way off base on Russia, and I don’t believe you have any real experience of “reality” there. Life’s tough there, and it’s not democratic, but it’s insulting to say the Russsians are uncivilised.

I’ve never been there, true. But I didnt say that Russians are uncivillised. Perhaps you should, you know, read my posts.

*FYI, Rome didn’t stagnate under Marcus Aurelius. He was one of the more dynamic emperors but got dealt a very nasty hand in the barbarian invasion and plague departments. He coped very well. His son Commodus was an imbecile who undid much of his good work.

Name one major cultural figure in Roman life in his reign apart from ole Marcus Himself.

He was a great Roman, pehaps the greatest of the lot but he was already running a civillisation that had run out of steam.

*I don’t see why EU stagnation is inevitable becuase of centralisation. It’s worked quite well for the USA.

The big difference is in the constitutions and legal systems. The EU ideal seems to be for every ideal to have over 500 pages of regulations to go with it. (Increasingly this is the trend in the US as well, I guess). This may seem like progress to you. It seems like a surefire recipie to kill off innovation, debate, and enthusiasm to me.

*I think Paul Kennedy’s British, btw.

Good for him.

As for Mark, I found this interesting

*I think it’s clear that Islamic people are keen to embrace freedoms such as freedom of speech and self-determination.

I do not think it is clear at all. Why do you think it is clear?

harry
harry
2022 years ago

Ok, just say that the Muslims haven’t contributed anything: so what?
Where does this lead in the discussion?

Certainly the Western European nations made a profound impact on other Western European nations by going to war with them all the time.
It is only very recently that civilisations of western europe have given the people the vote, pensions, rights and other such stuff that I assume Scott means by Civilisation.
Again, so what?

Russian and Eastern European traders frequently made it into the Caspian, Black and Meditterrenean seas to Arab areas. Listen to the music of those areas; look at their churches; their illumination; the passage of scientific knowledge; artistic designs etc and they all show signs of Arab and Islamic influence.

Again, so what?
I don’t see what establishing or not establishing this proves?
Please enlighten me.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Well, basically, the first step to solving a problem is to admit that you have one. Its not really up to us in Australia to say ‘you have a problem’ to Arab nations, but its helpful for Australia’s policy positions to agree whether or not they have a problem.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Scott wrote:

“Dear oh dear. Do you lads even read my posts? Try again.

“I want to make a distinction between civillisations and individuals.”

Okay? That was the first thing that I wrote. And both Fyodor and Mark completely ignored it.

No wonder its so hard to have a dialoge with the Left.”

I’m really sorry Scott. Reading too quickly is one of my perennial vices and I’m knackered today and slaving under horrendous Brisbane heat and humidity. I’ll make this an object lesson to try to avoid this in future, and come back to your comments when I’m in a more refreshed frame of mind.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

The terms of this debate bother me, since it is about vast generalisations and huge narratives in which nations and cultures are given attributes and made to behave like coherent characters.

I dislike the elitism that says “what has your civilisation achieved since 1600, huh?” and “how come the Chinese didn’t have an industrial revolution?’ Or, on the other side: “while your mob was killing each other we were inventing the zero..”

A lot of it depends on point of view. “Ossified” may only be irritating if you are Chancellor of the Exchequer. “Ossified” may be peaceful to peasants who are only grateful that the place is not torn apart by wars which we in our armchairs think invigorate the civilisation. At least now they are not going to end up sitting in a paddock with a sharpened stick protruding from their middles because someone called them a Lutheran..

Lively, inventive and dyanamic cultures are not much fun if your weaving family has been pushed off its common and left to cough its lungs out in a factory. Or your traditional practices have been defined as subhuman and pagan so you can be robbed and forced off your land.

There are a lot of points of view that would say that Western Civilisation, of which I am a fantastic beneficiary, was a disgusting piece of horror. Slaves, indigenous people, Jews, children in factories, court dwarves, villeins, witches, prisoners, sailors, widows. astronomers, anti-opium crusaders in China, owners of gold in South America… a lot of people had no cause to celebrate. Let’s face it, our prosperity was ground out of the suffering of others and it should affect how we think about what to do with it.

We in democratic societies are about three seconds ahead of the rest of the world. I absolutely agree we have discovered some precious ideas, but let’s not kid ourselves that makes us superior. Most of our deep culture and civilisation – which we should celebrate and explore – was constructed when our way of life was no better than a Taliban hill village now.

Shakespeare lived in a hereditary dictatorship, just starting an empire based on slavery and theft, which set fire to religious dissidents and treated women as chattels. Was he uncivilised? Should we disown him?

Of course not.

As the descendents of a gulag ourselves, are we going to say that Russia is that much worse than nineteenth century England? It is a dodgy proposition.

It does serve to tell us that the propositions that we think mark “civilisation”, particularly in relation to our Muslim cousins, are recent and fragile. I would say they include respect for the rule of law, equality, the separation of church and state, and the metaphorical nature of religion. (That is, it is not all literal).

I do believe that the Muslim world suffers, in a broad way that makes a real difference to tens of millions of lives, from some ideas and practices that interfere with forward movement. There are nasty ideas about, just as nasty as the fascism which grew out of western civilisation. Just ask Salman Rushdie, or any one of thousands of brave dissident activists and writers who appeal to their heritage and civilisation to give them strength when they face the odious regimes that the West has armed and excused.

Our task is surely to support progressive elements in Islamic cultures to find ways of reconciling with the modern world, scientific rationalism, and a limiting ecology. So that they can find the political and social forms that work for them, and enable them to re-express their civilisation in a new way.

As, in faltering and tentative ways, we are trying to do with ours.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

“The terms of this debate bother me, since it is about vast generalisations and huge narratives in which nations and cultures are given attributes and made to behave like coherent characters.”

David, that’s the classic critique of Sociology and it has some validity. The problem is that historians say to us – “you ignore the specifity of these events” – and we say – “we have to, if we don’t generalise we can’t draw any sort of conclusions about what happens again and again in human history and why”. It’s not something that can ever be solved – it’s just two different ways of looking at things at two different levels.

The art is to look at the big picture without forgetting the detail. Which is easier said than done.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Scott, btw – I’m going to save up commenting on the EU for a post in its own right I’ve been thinking about for a bit.

Scott Campbell at Blithering Bunny

Professor Bunyip has had a little fun exposing your boy Saadi Youssef:

http://bunyip.blogspot.com/2005_01_01_bunyip_archive.html#110499991860412385

It seems Saadi’s not exactly a shining advertisement for Islamic culture after all. But this is what happens when you take Tariq Ali as an authority. I mean, Tariq Ali? What were you thinking? (Oh, I forgot. You’re a leftist, this is how you think *all the time*).

Fyodor
2022 years ago

Scott,

My responses:

* “I want to make a distinction between civillisations and individuals.” Okay? That was the first thing that I wrote. And both Fyodor and Mark completely ignored it.

I didn’t ignore it. You gave no evidence for your implication that the Muslim and Russian cultures are uncivilised. I gave you some anecdotal contra-evidence.

* I dont get YOUR point. Your introducing an irrelevent remark in here.

My point was that your decision to pick 1600 as a cutoff point was arbitrary, and ignored the vast contributions made to Western civilisation by others before that date, including Islam. Care to explain why 1600 is so significant?

* The only thing that Muslims did with Europe by then was fight them, but I did forget the Indian example.

I seem to remember the fighting went both ways, often due to the aggression of Western powers against Muslim states.

* I disagree. Cultural conditions have to be right for technological takeoff to occur. Consider the Chinese example again. Why didn’t technological change that we collectively know as the Industrial Revolution occur there?

“Technological takeoff” is a complex area. Why did Europe get there first? Maybe it was due to cultural, maybe economic, maybe geopolitical, factors. Jared Diamond (“Guns, Germs and Steel”) puts it down to geography, biology and demography. Culture is one factor, but not necessarily the decisive one. This says nothing about the “civilised” nature or otherwise of Islamic and Russian culture.

* I’ve never been there, true. But I didnt say that Russians are uncivillised. Perhaps you should, you know, read my posts.

OK, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. Fair enough, but that didn’t stop you from saying that “And a great literary tradition does not a civillisation make. Russia has a collossal literary canon, and its not worth a bean to the reality of Russian culture or public life.” When pressed on this point, you later said that “Russians as individuals are often very civillised people indeed. Russia as a civillisation is not.” See? I did read your posts.

* Name one major cultural figure in Roman life in his reign apart from ole Marcus Himself. He was a great Roman, pehaps the greatest of the lot but he was already running a civillisation that had run out of steam.

The historian Suetonius, the astronomer Ptolemy, the historian Arrian, the novelist Lucius Apuleius, the latin grammarian Aulus Gellius and the advocate and philosopher Fronto (Marcus Aurelius’ tutor) are just some of the cultural figures who lived in Marcus Aurelius’ reign. The (Western) Roman Empire is often reckoned to have collapsed in 476 CE, some 296 years after Marcus Aurelius died. The Eastern Roman Empire (i.e. Byzantium) lived on into the middle ages.

* The big difference is in the constitutions and legal systems. The EU ideal seems to be for every ideal to have over 500 pages of regulations to go with it. (Increasingly this is the trend in the US as well, I guess). This may seem like progress to you. It seems like a surefire recipie to kill off innovation, debate, and enthusiasm to me.

You obviously haven’t read the US tax code, though I don’t blame you. The EU is a bureaucratic, socialistic kind of place, and they pay for it with low economic growth. That doesn’t mean that the EU’s stagnation is “almost inevitable” or that they won’t turn a corner down the track.

bargarz
2022 years ago

I also initially thought Mark was generalising RE: the alleged ignorance of RWDB – and BTW, are respondants thereby outing themselves as RWDB or seen to be endorsing the narrow scope of his question by replying? Anyway, I’m glad to see the clarification of sorts in the comments.

Maybe clarifications also need to be made between the various civilisations within the Islamic sphere as it was hardly monolithic then just as it isn’t now.

Cultural conditions have to be right for technological takeoff to occur.
The world received algebra whereas the printing press was banned by the Ottomans from their realms.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I should clarify that I wasn’t saying Islamic civilisation is faultless, that the Ottoman Empire was wonderful – just that it’s wrong to say that Islamic civilisation has never made any contribution to culture.

Scott, I think the evidence for a desire for freedom of speech can be drawn from a number of points – the way that people have taken to Al-Jazeera, the sort of debate that’s going on around the Palestinian elections, some of the Egyptian writers that I was talking about. Jordan is another example of a state with some element of democracy and public debate. I’m not asserting that everyone in the Middle East has such a desire – clearly a lot of the religious authorities patently do not.

But my view for a long time has been that one of the main problems is that political repression has caused dissent to flow into religious channels – which I think is a huge problem for everyone. As I said, I think democracy in the Middle East would be a wonderful thing – I just don’t think that the current way of achieving it is at all desirable, or will work necessarily.

With regard to the EU’s future and strategic position, I might save up my thoughts for a future post.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Incidentally, good to see that we’re having a good political debate at Troppo with contributions from both sides. Haven’t been enough of those lately.

Stewart Kelly
Stewart Kelly
2022 years ago

Stews Law: If it doesn’t rhyme it’s not a poem.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Scott Campbell, on Tariq Ali’s reliability, most of what he said would happen in Iraq (ie effective state of civil war, Shi’ite religious figures having the upper hand, an increasing level of violence) quite some time ago has come to pass. Contrast that with the predictions that troops would be welcomed with flowers, Saddam’s capture would stop the Sunni insurgency etc.

bargarz
2022 years ago

** “Saddam’s capture would stop the insurgency”.
Wow what a neat bit of revisionism.

A mere 30 seconds googling brought up this article after Saddam’s capture dated 23/12/03.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/12/15/wsad15.xml

—-
In a brief televised address from the White House, Mr Bush said: “In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq.

“The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq. We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the heart of the Middle East.
“Such men are a direct threat to the American people and they will be defeated.”
….
The capture of Saddam is the greatest success for the American-led coalition since it invaded Iraq in March. It is also a major fillip for Mr Bush as he prepares for next year’s presidential election. But Pentagon officials underlined his warning that the bloody insurgency, which has claimed hundreds of lives in the past six months, was not over.

There are plenty of media references out there about the insurgency being damaged by the capture of Saddam (not to mention the waves of arrests that followed). Damaged, set back – even crippled. Yes.

But stopped? Please show me a quote where either the members of the Coalition forces or Bush’s, Blair’s or Howard’s cabinets claimed the capture would stop the insurgency.

A neat resource is the Saddam’s capture link page at at the Captains Quarters blog.
http://captained.blogs.com/captains_quarters/capture_of_saddam_hussein/

As for Tariq Ali, he has already predicted that elections in Iraq will be pointless until all “occupation troops” leave.
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2004/s1142399.htm

**I think the resistance is gaining strength every single day until all foreign occupation troops are withdrawn an election will be pretty meaningless in any event, because it will be an election that takes place under occupation.
(There are some points in this interview that – surprisingly – I agree with TA. But then, so did Daniel Pipes. However, it’s pretty clear from here, his book and other interviews that Tariq’s opinion was that coalition troops were “colonial occupiers” and should pull out ASAP – thus leaving the Iraqi people behind to …sort it out themselves.)

What a humanitarian.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Well, my memory on the Saddam capture thing is evidently faulty.

I think Tariq Ali’s point is not nessarily a humanitarian one but that the Iraqi people ought to have the right to determine their own future (for instance the elections to the constitutional convention which will now not occur). There’s an argument, I think, that if Iraq had to sort out its own destiny then that would in itself promote responsibility.

It’s clear also that there are motives other than humanitarian for the continued US presence.

Rania
Rania
2022 years ago

Dear all,

As I was searching in the internet for something to lead me to an e-mail of Mudhaffar; I have found this page. i have to say i’m part of the Palestinians in exhile and Mudaffar’s poetry was and still is a common comrade between us here, whatever the political background is.

We as a group of Palestinians out of Palestine want to invite Mudhaffar officially but do not seem to find any address for him. And would really appreciate any help we can get in this issue.

I’m realistic.. I want the impossible!!

Thanks in advance