On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Coversation

Published by Haymarket Books, 2011

In working together on two challenging new documentaries—South of the Border and the forthcoming 13-part, 13-hour Untold History of the United States series for Showtime—filmmaker Oliver Stone engaged with author and filmmaker Tariq Ali in a probing, hard-hitting conversation on the politics of history. Their dialogue brings to light a number of forgotten—or deliberately buried—episodes of American history, from the U.S. intervention against the Russian Revolution, to the dynamic radicalism of the Wobblies, how Henry Wallace’s nomination for the vice-presidency was deliberately thwarted by Democratic Party machine insiders, to the ongoing close connections between various U.S. presidents and the Saudi royal family. For Stone and Ali—two of our most insightful observers on history and popular culture—no topic is sacred, no orthodoxy goes unchallenged.

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From the archive

  • ‘Iraq’s destiny still rests between God, blood and oil’

    January 16, 2006

    ‘Iraq’s destiny still rests between God, blood and oil’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, January 16, 2006

    Had the Shia parties decided to give up their own struggles to resist the occupation, it would have been over long ago

    By year three of Iraq’s occupation, for most western citizens the fact that they live in a world subjugated by lies, half-truths and suppressed facts has become part of everyday life. In Iraq, a preoccupation for many of the country’s citizens, including some who initially supported the war, is whether their country will survive or whether the result of western recolonisation will soon be disintegration. A Hobbesian landscape today could lead to a tripartite division tomorrow.

    In the last half of the preceding century, the great Iraqi poet, Muhammad Mahdi al-Jawahiri, himself the son of a Shia cleric  …

  • Tariq Ali takes on “Any Questions?” on BBC Radio 4

    November 5, 2010

    Tariq Ali joined Jonathan Dimbleby in Leeds as a panellist on BBC Radio 4‘s “Any Questions?” show, with journalist Peter Hitchens, Sayeeda Warsi, Chairman of the Conservative Party and Jack Dromey MP. The panel answered topical questions including those on housing and civil liberties.

    Visit the BBC Radio 4 website to listen to “Any Questions?” in full.

  • On honour killings in Pakistan

    December 18, 2008

    Tariq Ali on honor killings in Pakistan for The London Review of Books (Diary), December 18, 2008

    If cheating in bed was always settled by the bullet, many of us would be dead. Gerald Martin’s new biography of Gabriel García Márquez reveals that Chronicle of a Death Foretold was based on the murder of the novelist’s friend Cayetano Gentile in Sucre in 1951. He had seduced, deflowered and abandoned Margarita Chica Salas. On her wedding day Margarita’s husband was told that she was no longer a virgin. The bride was sent back to her family home. Her brothers then found Gentile and chopped his body into pieces. Márquez blamed the socio-moral dictatorship of the Catholic Church.

    But of course it is usually women who are killed for breaking codes of sexual conduct. There have been several recent cases  …