Tag Archives: Kurdistan

In Turkish Kurdistan

‘In Turkish Kurdistan’ by Tariq Ali for The London Review of Books (Diary), November 16, 2006

It was barely light in Istanbul as I stumbled into a taxi and headed for the airport to board a flight for Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish city in eastern Turkey, not far from the Iraqi border. The plane was full, thanks to a large party of what looked like chattering students with closely shaved heads, whose nervous excitement seemed to indicate they’d never left home before. One of them took the window seat next to my interpreter. It turned out he wasn’t a student but a newly conscripted soldier, heading east for more training and his first prolonged experience of barrack-room life, perhaps even of conflict. He couldn’t have been more than 18; this was his first time on a plane. As we took off he clutched the seat in front of him and looked fearfully out of the window. During the flight he calmed down and marvelled at the views of the mountains and lakes below, but as the plane began its descent he grabbed the seat again. Our safe landing was greeted with laughter by many of the shaven-headed platoon. read more

From the archive

  • A New York Times review of Bush in Babylon

    January 25, 2004

    Bush in Babylon reviewed by Serge Schmemann for The New York Times Book Review, January 25, 2004

    “An often compelling insider’s perspective … with some valuable insights into the sensitivities that explain why the occupying coalition in Iraq is not being treated as a savior.”

    It is difficult to believe that George W. Bush has been in the White House for only three years. It seems ages now that we have been living in a new world, in which his administration is closely identified with new passions, new fears, new enemies. Sept. 11, of course, is the dominant reason; it has effectively divided our life into a ”before” and an ”after,” pushing the 20th century with its hot and cold wars, its thickets of nuclear missiles and its arguments into a foggy past. George H. W.  …

  • Tariq Ali: What Is A Revolution?

    September 5, 2013

    Ever since the beginning of the Arab Spring there has been much talk of revolutions. Not from me. I’ve argued against the position that mass uprisings on their own constitute a revolution, i.e., a transfer of power from one social class (or even a layer) to another that leads to fundamental change. The actual size of the crowd is not a determinant—members of a crowd become a revolution only when they have, in their majority, a clear set of social and political aims. If they do not, they will always be outflanked by those who do, or by the state that will recapture lost ground very rapidly.

    Egypt is the clearest example in recent years. No organs of autonomous power ever emerged. The Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative social force, one that belatedly joined the struggle to overthrow Mubarak, emerged as the  …