Granadillo Award for the Islam Quintet

Text of the speech made by Tariq Ali upon receiving the Granadillo Award, January 2, 2010

Thank you very much and I am privileged to be so honored, but I am only too aware of the significance of this day and the fact that you are honoring the ideas expressed in the ‘Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree’, the first novel of the Quintet that I started writing in this city over twenty years ago. I wanted to remind readers of the last tormented days of Islamic civilization in al-Andalus; not for reasons of nostalgia, but because the crimes that were committed—the burning of the books in the Bibbarambla a few minutes walk from where we are now, the expulsion of the Jews, the forced conversions, the auto-da-fes (burning of heretics on the stake), the Inquisition and  …

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Preface – Protocols of the Elders of Sodom

Preface to The Protocols of the Elders of Sodom

What these essays share in common is a refusal to downgrade politics and history in favour of academic ‘discourse’, the general trend of which has, over the last three decades, been mind-numbing. Aijaz Ahmed, in particular, has written sharply on the impact of postmodernism on discussions of literature and culture as a whole. The same three decades also produced a single and dominant narrative in the form of global capitalism, policed by the economic, political and ideological instruments of the Washington Consensus. This ensemble of relations, in which campus postmodernism played a significant part by encouraging blindness, was severely disrupted by the Wall Street crash of 2008. The events of 9/11 and the subsequent occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq had already made it difficult to completely ignore history. The  …

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From the archive

  • V40 Philosophy / Wittgenstein screening at the Tate Modern

    October 15, 2010

    In Defence of Philosophy series: Screening followed by discussion with Tariq Ali

    Friday 22 October 2010, 18.30 at the Tate Modern

    To mark 40 years of independent, radical publishing, Verso is celebrating its philosophy titles with a screening of the Tariq Ali-produced Wittgenstein, Derek Jarman’s innovative portrait of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

    A seminal thinker of the twentieth century, Wittgenstein’s revolutionary ideas have had an impact in disciplines beyond philosophy including psychology, the natural sciences, linguistics, mathematics, logic, art, religion, artificial intelligence and software design.

    Derek Jarman’s Wittgenstein was to be part of a series for Channel Four entitled The Philosophers, for which the producers had already commissioned four different scripts: Howard Brenton on Socrates, Tariq Ali on Spinoza, David Edgar on Locke, and Terry Eagleton on Wittgenstein.

    Jarman’s penultimate film is charged with lush and elegant images evoking the philosopher’s  …

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • ‘Thinking of Edward Said’

    December 24, 2007

    ‘Thinking of Edward Said’ by Tariq Ali for Counterpunch, December 24, 2007

    I think of Edward Said often, especially, but not only, when I read of the sordid deals in which the PLO is engaged with Israel and its US backers. I miss Edward’s impetuosity and righteous indignation. He would have had no truck with the shrivelled little Bantustans that the PLO wants to accept and would have morally destroyed the apologists for such a scheme or those intellectual fellow-travellers who think that defending the idea of a secular Palestine means remaining silent on the US-EU embargo on Hamas and who, exhausted by years of struggle and the receipt of handsome cheques from some corrupt NGO, are yearning for an accommodation with the enemy on almost any terms.

    Already in his last writings Edward Said had supported the  …

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • Socialist Review interviews Tariq Ali

    November 1, 2006

    An interview with Tariq Ali by Talat Ahmed for Socialist Review, November 2006

    ‘The history of the development of Islamic civilisation is one of adaption and intermingling. It is one of both influencing the non-Islamic world and being influenced by it.’ Tariq Ali challenges the myth that Islam is incompatible with the West in his four novels about the Muslim world and Europe. He discussed them with Talat Ahmed.

    Since Jack Straw made his comments on the veil, politicians have been falling over themselves to demonise Muslims in Britain. Now university lecturers are expected to spy on “Asian-looking” students in order to spot potential terrorists, while parents are warned to be on the look out for “fundamentalist” tendencies among their children. Britain seems to be in the grip of an anti-Muslim hysteria that has been gathering  …