art of resistance

Five For Friday: Lectures and Interviews on Middle East and Islam.

Five For Friday is a new category on Middle East Revised. Two times a month, on Friday, there’ll be five things to pay attention to concerning MENA region – films, videos, interviews, testimonials, songs, lectures, debates, etc.

This Friday – it’s interviews and lectures – on Middle East and Islam (hot topics of everyday). These five are a must-see.

1. Eqbal Ahmad – Terrorism Ours vs. Theirs 

Just months before his death, Eqbal Ahmad, great Pakistani political scientist and writer, gave this lecture in Colorado.  He talked about who and what defines terrorism.

2. Edward Said – Last Interview

It’s not only that this is the last interview Edward Said gave, it’s that it lasts for more than three hours in which he discusses almost everything. Wonderful!

3. Robert Fisk – State of Denial: Western journalism and the Middle East 

Robert Fisk has given many great lectures during the last couple of decades, but I chose this one for it focuses on the burning issues of the Western mainstream media.

4. Chris Hedges and Sam Harris: Debating Religion (Islam) & Politics (Middle East)

This one is basically – how Chris Hedges exposes the hollowness in the ‘know-it-all’ rethoric of Sam Harris.

5. Edward Said and Salman Rushdie – Ta(l)king The Box Away.

Rushdie and Said are talking about Said’s book After the last sky and the Palestinian experience (“unlike other colonial experiences – we weren’t exploited, we were excluded”, says Said). There’s also a fun story about Israeli broadcasters and Palestinian guerrilla – a cherry on top!

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art of resistance, Pakistan

Fifteen years without the light of Eqbal Ahmad (1933 – 1999).

[Ahmad was] perhaps the shrewdest and most original anti-imperialist analyst of the post-war world, especially in the dynamics between the West and the post-colonial states of Asia and Africa. 

Edward Said

about-eaEqbal Ahmad

In two weeks, the universe will count fifteen years without Eqbal Ahmad.

Ahmad was a Pakistani political scientist, writer, journalist, and anti-war activist. He was strongly critical of the Middle East strategy of the United States as well as what he saw as the “twin curse” of nationalism and religious fanaticism in such countries as Pakistan. In all of that and above that – Ahmad was a brave man in this new world. He opposed militarism, radicalism, bureaucracy, materialism, he stood against the things we so easily go along with – just because it’s easier that way. He wasn’t interested in what’s easy, he was interested in what’s right. And he had a unique sense for that.

Ahmad was born in the village of Irki in the Indian state of Bihar. When he was a young boy, his father was murdered over a land dispute in his presence. It was a traumatic event Eqbal would cite when he attacked material acquisitiveness.During the partition of India in 1947, he and his older brothers migrated to Pakistan. Ahmad got a degree in economics in Pakistan, and later on studied political science and Middle Eastern history, earning his PHD at Princeton.

From 1960 to 1963, Ahmad lived in North Africa, working primarily in Algeria, where he joined the National Liberation Front and worked with Frantz Fanon. He was offered an opportunity to join the first independent Algerian government and refused in favor of life as an independent intellectual.

eqbal_said_pc

In the 80s, he joined the faculty at Hampshire College, a very progressive school, which was the first college in the nation to divest from South Africa, in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he taught world politics and political science. He wrote and spoke a lot of the failures of the Arab nationalism. In 1980, in Beirut, he was the first to predict the exact outlines of the 1982 Israeli invasion; in a memo to Yasir Arafat and Abu Jihad he also sadly forecast the quick defeat of PLO forces in South Lebanon.

In the early 1990s, Ahmad was granted a parcel of land in Pakistan by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s government to build an independent, alternative university, named Khaldunia. Upon his retirement from Hampshire in 1997, he settled permanently in Pakistan, where he continued to write a weekly column, for Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest English-language newspaper.

Since his death, a memorial lecture series has been established at Hampshire in his honor. Speakers have included Kofi Annan, Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, and Arundhati Roy.

There is a website dedicated to Ahmad’s work – Bitsonline, you can find varoius  interviews, articles, and information about upcoming events and tributes there. Check it out.

Fifteen years is a lot, but the years have no power here – the universe will remember and remember – long live Eqbal Ahmad!

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