In a series of interviews and commentaries this week, Tariq Ali points to the uprisings that continue in Egypt (today has been named "Day of Departure" in Cairo with hundreds of thousands returning to the streets) as
a rude awakening for all those who imagined that the despots of the Arab world could be kept in place provided they continued to serve the needs of the West and their harsh methods weren't aired on CNN and BBC World.
As illustration of the West's penchant for despots, this particular report from Ali not only lists Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pleas to officials in Washington to delay Hosni Mubarak's departure from Egypt but also the French government having seriously considered sending its paratroopers to save former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, and Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair having described the Mubarak as a "force for good."
Al Jazeera and the Guardian and Al Quds (Arabic) newspapers yesterday released over 1600 confidential documents laying open the last decade of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The papers go well beyond refuting the threadbare myth that the Israelis have had no 'partner for peace', and show rather how weak and incompetent officials betrayed Palestinians by offering to surrender "virtually everything except their salaries", as Tariq Ali puts it on the London Review of Books blog. As Ali notes, it is well worth revisiting Edward Said's prophetic 1994 article for the LRB in which he described the Oslo accords as a "Palestinian Versailles" in the light of these revelations.
The elegant surroundings of the Theatre Metastasio in Prato, Italy, will be the setting for the first Prato Philosophers forum which will consider the impact of the economic crisis and the rise in right-wing populism on the European Union.
Speaking to ITN news today following Julian Assange's bail hearing, Tariq Ali, author most recently of The Obama Syndrome, reiterates that Assange should never have been denied bail in the first place and alludes to pressure from a very angry Washington ...
Visit the Guardian to read a statement in support of Assange and Wikileaks, signed by John Pilger and others. The statement, entitled "WikiLeaks: the emperor wears no clothes," states: "we pledge to not simply bear witness but to actively participate in this fight."