Eqbal Ahmad: Confronting Empire
by Eqbal Ahmad: Interviews with David Barsamian, Foreword by Edward Said
AVAILABILITY: Usually ships within 2-5 days
Publication Date: 2000
Publisher: South End Press
Topics: Corporate Rule, Economics, History: Local to Global, Media, Militarism, Nonviolence, Social Movements, Third World Peoples, United States, Visioning the Future
Description: In 1997, at a remarkable weekend-long tribute to Eqbal Ahmad, Edward W. Said urged Ahmad not to "leave your words scattered to the winds, or even recorded on tape, but collected and published in several volumes for everyone to read. Then those who don't have the privilege of knowing you will know what a truly remarkable, gifted man you are."
Ahmad died suddenly in the spring of 1999 before Said's dream came to fruition. For the first time ever, Ahmad's most provocative ideas are available in book form. In these intimate and wide-ranging conversations, Ahmad discusses nationalism, ethnic conflict, the nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan, the politics of memory, imperialism, and liberation struggles around the world.
Eqbal Ahmad was a peace activist and scholar born in India. In 1947, he left with his brothers for the newly created state of Pakistan. He was active in the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement in the United States. Ahmad passed away in the spring of 1999.
Review(s): "Inevitably, reading Eqbal Ahmad's words evokes the presence of the person - treasured friend, trusted comrade, counsellor and teacher. The unforgettable voice, beautifully captured in these interviews, is rich with learning, understanding, and compassion." - Noam Chomsky
"Eqbal Ahmad, perhaps the shrewdest and most original anti-imperialist analyst of Asia and Africa...[was] a man of enormous charisma and incorruptible ideals... He had an almost instinctive attraction to movements of the oppressed and the persecuted...[and] a formidable knowledge of history. Arabs, for example, learned more from him about the failures of Arab nationalism than from anyone else... Ahmad was that rare thing, an intellectual unintimidated by power or authority." - Edward W. Said, author of 'Culture and Imperialism', eulogizing Ahmad in The Nation and The Guardian
"[Eqbal Ahmad] was a shining example of what a true internationalist should be... Eqbal was at home in the history of all the world's great civilizations. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of states past and present, and he knew that states had a rightful role to play. But he also knew that states existed to serve people not the other way around, and he had little to do with governments, except as a thorn in their side. To friends, colleagues, and students, however, he gave unstintingly of himself and his time. His example and his memory will inspire many to carry on his work." - Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations
"We have here the ideal combination for a dazzling intellectual encounter thoughtful questions by a superb interviewer, David Barsamian, and brilliant responses by the extraordinary Eqbal Ahmad, recorded just before Ahmad's death." - Howard Zinn, Boston University
"Eqbal Ahmad was a multitude of men - scholar, activist, political analyst, teacher, diplomat, visionary, but, above all, a foot-soldier in the army of peoples everywhere." - Race and Class
"Fighting words, wise words, from one of the most powerful activist intellectuals of our time." - Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University
"For the thousands of people who have missed Eqbal Ahmad in the year since he died, this book comes like rain during a drought. In these interviews, we hear Ahmad's compelling voice again, musing over the Indian subcontinent, Algeria, the United States, and Palestine; recounting his encounters with Mahatma Gandhi and Yasir Arafat; fulminating against the West's pusillanimity over Bosnia and Kosovo; laying out his solution to the Kashmir conflict; and discussing his plans to found a university in Pakistan named after the Arab historian and sociologist Ibn Khaldun. Such is the range and breadth of David Barsamian's interviews, my only regret is that the book is not twice its length." - Radha Kumar, Council on Foreign Relations
"These interviews provide a wonderfully focused, yet wide-ranging compendium of Eqbal Ahmad's worldview. Ahmad was a courageous thinker and activist, an inspirational presence wherever progressives gathered, and a remarkable human being filled with love, humor, and generosity of spirit." - Richard Falk, Princeton University
"Hearing Eqbal Ahmad's voice again, in these eloquent pages, renews one's sense of loss. The people of Bosnia and Kosovo, in particular, have been deprived of an ally when they need one most. But perhaps the voice can still unblock a mind or two, in this dull era of the parochial Left." - Christopher Hitchens, The Nation
"With the voice of truth and compassion, Eqbal Ahmad weaves a tapestry, from Pakistan to Palestine, Indonesia to Iraq, Europe to South America, of how the United States has abused its position of power and dominance in the world since World War Two. Ever-challenging fanaticism and bigotry, particularly the demonization of Islam, Ahmad demands respect and openness for all cultures, peoples, and religions. Confronting Empire is a must-read for anyone concerned with issues of multiculturalism, liberty, justice, and humaneness." - Zaineb Istrabadi, Columbia University