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

  • ‘Most Pakistanis Don’t Want The Army In Politics’

    April 23, 2012

    Tariq Ali interviewed by Bharat Bhushan for Outlook India, April 23, 2012

    When you look at your original homeland, Pakistan, what thoughts come to your mind?

    A congregation of pain – to quote from Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s great poem Aaj ke naam – in Urdu, “dard ki anjuman”. The country has gone from bad to worse. You feel sometimes that things can’t get worse and they do. We first had the effect of military dictatorships on social political life in the country and now we have got a civilian government which is probably the most corrupt government in the entire history of the country. What staggers me is that Zardari is so shameless. On his face you do not read any regret for what he has done and he will carry on doing it till the United States keep  …

  • ‘A doomed mission’

    February 28, 2007

    ‘A doomed mission’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, February 28, 2007

    Failure in Afghanistan has revived the Taliban and now, after six years of occupation, there is no way Nato can win this war

    It is year six of the UN-backed Nato occupation of Afghanistan, a joint US/EU mission. On February 27 there was what some claim to be an attempted assassination of Dick Cheney by Taliban suicide bombers while he was visiting the “secure” US air base at Bagram (once an equally secure Soviet air base during an earlier conflict). Two US soldiers and a mercenary (“contractor”) died in the attack, as did 20 other people working at the base. This episode alone should have concentrated the US vice-president’s mind on the scale of the Afghan debacle. In 2006 the casualty rates rose substantially and Nato  …