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In his latest book, Tariq Ali asks what has really changed since Bush left the White House? Very little, he argues in The Obama Syndrome, apart from the mood music.
Ali in The Obama Syndrome:
“In Cairo, at West Point, at Oslo, Obama has treated the world to one uplifting homily after another, each address larded with every euphemism that White House speechwriters can muster to describe America’s glowing mission in the world: ‘Our country has borne a special burden in global affairs’; ‘Our cause is just, our resolve unwavering.’ The model for this variant of imperial presidency is Woodrow Wilson—no less pious a Christian, whose every second word was peace, democracy or self-determination, while his armies invaded Mexico, occupied Haiti and attacked Russia. But cant still goes a long way to satisfy those who yearn for it …”
He spoke on ‘The Perils of Islamophobia’ at the 2010 Marxism festival in London:
We live in dangerous and unpredictable times. If anyone had suggested 30 or 40 years ago that one of the central issues we would be discussing was Islam or religion, we would have laughed.
One reason for that was that throughout the Cold War period of the last century, the imperialist countries – the US and its allies – essentially used political Islam as a bulwark against their enemies all over the world…
Islamophobia is something that has been artificially engendered, especially in the Western world, against what is regarded as the new enemy.
Read the edited version of Tariq Ali’s speech for Marxism 2010 here.
To read more about The Perils of Islamophobia from Tariq Ali, try The Clash of Fundamentalisms, in which he puts the events of September 11 into sweeping historical perspective. Ali is lucid, eloquent, literary, and painfully honest, as he dissects both Islamic and Western fundamentalism. Its follow-up Bush in Babylon: Recolonising Iraq is also a magnificent cultural history of Iraqi resistance against empires old and new, and argues against the view that sees imperialist occupation as the only viable solution to bring about regime-change in corrupt and dictatorial states.
On July 26, 2010, Tariq Ali will join filmaker Miguel Littin to discuss Film, Culture and Politics at the 6th International Seminar on Cinema, VI SemCine, in Brazil.