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

  • Lincoln in His Lover’s Nightgown

    January 31, 2013

    Tariq Ali for London Review of Books, January 30th 2013

    Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is consciously restrictive, concentrating as it does on how the vote was manipulated and the 13th Amendment passed, but Mrs Lincoln is not exactly missing from the movie. So why didn’t the scriptwriter Tony Kushner, a staunch gay rights activist who ‘personally believe[s] that there is some reason to speculate that Lincoln might have been bisexual or gay’, include any of that speculation in the film? There is a great deal of circumstantial evidence to suggest that Lincoln slept with a number of men. In an interview with Gold Derby, Kushner said:

    I wanted to write about a very specific moment and I chose this moment and I don’t feel that there’s any evidence at this particular moment that Lincoln was having sex with anybody… He  …

  • Scotland on Sunday reviews The Protocols of the Elders of Sodom

    August 9, 2009

    The Protocols of the Elders of Sodom reviewed by  Marc Lambert for Scotland on Sunday, August 9, 2009

    The intrusion of politics into a work of literature, Stendhal once wrote, “is like a pistol shot in the middle of a concert, something loud and vulgar, and yet a thing to which it is not possible to refuse one’s attention”. This piece of wit introduces Ali’s entertaining and informative selection of occasional pieces, documenting his literary, political and cultural interests over the last three decades.

    Each essay is a shot in the air, even if most have been aired before. There is some repetition, and some duds, such as the essay which gives the book its title, a spoof on Proust, Zionism and homosexuality that doesn’t quite work. But for the most part Ali is provocative, polemical and  …