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Tariq Ali

Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics—including Pirates of the Caribbean, Bush in Babylon, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and The Obama Syndrome—as well as five novels in his Islam Quintet series and scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of the New Left Review and lives in London.


  • The Unknown Known: Donald Rumsfeld and his legacy

    Donald Rumsfeld's political career, and unique management style, comes under close scrutiny in a new film from Errol Morris, director of The Fog of War. At the centre of the film is a powerful interview with Rumsfeld by the director which focuses specifically on the pivotal role the former Secretary of Defense played in the provocations and untruths that lead up to the invasion of Iraq. The film is structured around tens of thousands of snowflakes — memos and missives fired off by Rumsfeld over the course of his political career, which shed light on the political manouverings that steered him through the Nixon administration and Watergate all the way to the Pentagon. Peering straight down the camera lens, Rumsfeld recites key "snowflakes" relating to his career and the drive to war with Iraq. 

    To mark the launch of The Unknown Known, Verso has two tickets to the film's UK premiere in London up for grabs, alongside copies of Andrew Cockburn's Rumsfeld and Tariq Ali's Bush in Babylon. To win, simply answer the following question:

    Donald Rumsfeld served as Secretary of Defense for 2,585 days. Which U.S. politician served as Secretary of Defense for longer than Rumsfeld?

    E-mail your answer to james@verso.co.uk by 5pm GMT on Friday 14th March for your chance to win. 

    The premiere, which includes a Q&A with director Errol Morris, is at the Curzon Cinema, Soho at 6:20pm, Monday 17th March.
  • Looking back at Women, Resistance and Revolution

    I started writing Women, Resistance and Revolution in the summer of 1969 when I was 26. It was my first book , though I had produced  articles in the left wing paper Black Dwarf edited by Tariq Ali, a pamphlet, Women’s Liberation and the New Politics and  a thesis on an adult education movement in the late nineteenth century which was three times too long. I abandoned the thesis partly because it was not yielding clear revolutionary implications and partly because it was mainly about men.

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  • Explaining the Israel-Palestine Conflict

    Key facets of the Israel-Palestine conflict have been thrust back into a wider public limelight, due to the news that actress Scarlett Johansson has left her role as an Oxfam ambassador. The split comes after criticism over her decision to promote Sodastream, the drinks company which operates out of a factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Oxfam opposes all trade with groups based in Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, creating a confict which has caused a serious rift between the humanitarian group and its celebrity supporter.

    "Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years," said a statement this week. "She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam."

    Vijay Prashad
    has written in the Guardian that Johansson's involvement with Sodastream brings much-needed scrutiny to illegal settlement activity and wider Western support for Israel. Once again we see that his is an issue that is not going to go away any time soon.

    These are Verso's key books on the Israel-Palestine conflict, from explanations to considered outcomes – what others should we include?

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