Eqbal Ahmad, Confronting Empire: Interviews with David Barsamian

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South End Press, 2000 - History - 177 pages
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"Dawn of Freedom" by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Map of South Asia
Biographical Sketch of Eqbal Ahmad
Introduction by David Barsamian
Foreword by Edward W. Said
Chapter 1 Think Critically and Take Risks
Chapter 2 Distorted HistoriesNotes
Chapter 3 Do Not Accept the Safe Haven
Selected Bibliography of Eqbal Ahmad's Writing


"Eqbal Ahmad, perhaps the shrewdest and most original anti-imperialist analyst of Asia and Africa...[was] a man of enormous charisma and incorruptible ideals.... He had an almost instinctive attraction to movements of the oppressed and the persecuted...[and] a formidable knowledge of history. Arabs, for example, learned more from him about the failures of Arab nationalism than from anyone else.... Ahmad was that rare thing, an intellectual unintimidated by power or authority."-Edward W. Said, author of Culture and Imperialism, eulogizing Ahmad in The Nation and The Guardian

"[Eqbal Ahmad] was a shining example of what a true internationalist should be.... Eqbal was at home in the history of all the world's great civilizations. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of states past and present, and he knew that states had a rightful role to play. But he also knew that states existed to serve peoplenot the other way aroundand he had little to do with governments, except as a thorn in their side. To friends, colleagues, and students, however, he gave unstintingly of himself and his time.... His example and his memory will inspire many to carry on his work."-Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

"A very dedicated and honorable activist, Eqbal was right in the middle of everything.... He was a student of revolution and imperialism and a very good one."-Noam Chomsky, MIT

"Eqbal Ahmad was unique in combining compassion for the dispossessed-en masse and one by one; the intellectual capacity to analyze cultural, political, and economic issues on a transnational level; and an ability to raise his always eloquent voice on behalf of constructive and original solutions."-Victory Navasky, Publisher and Editorial Director, The Nation

"Fighting words, wise words, from one of the most powerful activist intellectuals of ou


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About the author (2000)

David Barsamian is a broadcast journalist and director of Alternative Radio. He is well known for his interviews of Noam Chomsky, which have been collected in several volumes. These include Chronicles of Dissent, Keeping the Rabble in Line: Interviews with David Barsamian, and Class Warfare: Interviews with David Barsamian. His interviews with Edward Said have also been collected, in The Pen and the Sword: Conversations with David Barsamian.

Born in Jerusalem and educated at Victoria College in Cairo and at Princeton and Harvard universities, Edward Said has taught at Columbia University since 1963 and has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University. He has had an unusual dual career as a professor of comparative literature, a recognized expert on the novelist and short story writer Joseph Conrad, (see Vol. 1) and as one of the most significant contemporary writers on the Middle East, especially the Palestinian question and the plight of Palestinians living in the occupied territories. Although he is not a trained historian, his Orientalism (1978) is one of the most stimulating critical evaluations of traditional Western writing on Middle Eastern history, societies, and literature. In the controversial Covering Islam (1981), he examined how the Western media have biased Western perspectives on the Middle East. A Palestinian by birth, Said has sought to show how Palestinian history differs from the rest of Arabic history because of the encounter with Jewish settlers and to present to Western readers a more broadly representative Palestinian position than they usually obtain from Western sources. Said is presently Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia, editor of Arab Studies Quarterly, and chair of the board of trustees of the Institute of Arab Studies. He is a member of the Palestinian National Council as well as the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

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