Rough Music: Blair, Bombs, Baghdad, London,Terror

Published by Verso, 2006

July 7th, the murderous mayhem that Blair’s war has sown in Iraq came home to London in a devastating series of suicide bombings. Two weeks later, with apparent impunity, security forces shot dead a young Brazilian electrician on his way to work.

Rough Music is Tariq Ali’s white-hot response to these events. He lays bare the vengeful platitudes of Blair’s war on civil liberties, mounts a scorching attack on the cosy falsehoods of the government’s ‘consensus’ on what the threat amounts to and how to respond, and denounces the corruption of the political-media bubble which allows it to go unchallenged. Finally, invoking the perseverance and integrity of the great dissenters of the past, he calls for political resistance, within parliament and without.

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Reviews: New Left Review, International Viewpoint

From the archive

  • ‘The heretic and the holy: Tariq Ali’s histories of Islam’

    May 7, 2010

    The Islam Quintet reviewed by Robyn Creswell for The National, May 7, 2010

    “I’ve let my pen run away with me and preached my heresies for too long,” Tariq Ali once wrote, in an essay called Letter to a Young Muslim. “I doubt that I will change, but I hope you will.” Ali is indeed a kind of professional, or inveterate heretic, a writer who has made a career of dissenting from every kind of orthodoxy. But to call it a career suggests a rather solemn enterprise, whereas Ali’s writings are chiefly characterised by their wit—note the impish paradox of “preaching” heresies—and their swaggering combativeness. For Ali, dissent is an essentially heroic activity and he never seems so happy as when he has an opponent, be he neoliberal, Islamist, or ex-Leftist, to pummel into submission.

    Born  …

  • ‘Axis of Hope: Venezuela and the Bolivarian Dream’

    November 30, 2006

    ‘Axis of Hope: Venezuela and the Bolivarian Dream’ by Tariq Ali for Counterpunch, November 30, 2006

    In the Muslim world religious groups that are militarily effective, but politically limited dominate resistance to the American Empire. Asia is infatuated with capital. Europe lies buried deep in neo-liberal torpor, and the Left and social movements in the EU (Italy is the most recent example) are in an advanced state of decomposition. But in South America an axis of hope has emerged that challenges imperial domination on every level. Democracy, hollowed-out and offering no alternatives in the North, is being used to revive hope in the South.

    The likely re-election of Hugo Chavez this weekend in Venezuela will mark a new stage in the process. His opponent, Manuel Rosales, described in the Financial Times (November 30) as a “centre-left” candidate was  …

  • ‘A tragedy born of military despotism and anarchy’

    December 28, 2007

    ‘A tragedy born of military despotism and anarchy’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, December 28, 2007

    The assassination of Benazir Bhutto heaps despair upon Pakistan. Now her party must be democratically rebuilt

    Even those of us sharply critical of Benazir Bhutto’s behaviour and policies – both while she was in office and more recently – are stunned and angered by her death. Indignation and fear stalk the country once again.

    An odd coexistence of military despotism and anarchy created the conditions leading to her assassination in Rawalpindi yesterday. In the past, military rule was designed to preserve order—and did so for a few years. No longer. Today it creates disorder and promotes lawlessness. How else can one explain the sacking of the chief justice and eight other judges of the country’s supreme court for attempting to hold  …