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Being Arab

A passionate meditation on contemporary Arab identity.
Before his assassination in 2005, Samir Kassir was one of Lebanon’s foremost public intellectuals. In Being Arab, a thought-provoking assessment of Arab identity, he calls on the people of the Middle East to reject both Western double standards and Islamism in order to take the future into their own hands. Passionately written and brilliantly argued, this rallying cry for change has now been heard by millions.

Reviews

  • “This is an unusual book of such fluent and searing honesty that I almost wanted Samir Kassir to be kinder to himself. I salute his memory. ”
  • “One of Lebanon's most prominent journalists and one of the most vociferous and bravest critics of the Syrian regime. ”
  • “Shortly before his death, Kassir published a remarkable essay exploring what he termed the ‘Arab malaise’ of the twenty-first century. It reflected the disenchantment of Arab citizens with their corrupt and authoritarian governments.”
  • “Part historical essay and part political pamphlet ... This is a genuine cry against the forces of Islamic extremism.”

Blog

  • Ibn Khaldun and The Myth of "Arab Invasion"

    This refusal to accept the mass of evidence, the stubborn repetition of the error, and the insistence on making it a central theme in any account of Maghrebian history cannot be accidental. The myth did not arise by chance. It was deliberately forged and inculcated into the framework of colonial ideology.

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  • The Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Reading List

    On Friday 23rd December the UN passed a resolution demanding a stop to Israeli settlement in the occupied territories as, in a shock move, the US refused to veto the resolution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exploded, calling it a 'declaration of war' (having recently been granted a $38 billion military aid package by the US), and Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Israel's approach to the peace process. But with Trump tweeting that Israel should 'stay strong' until his inauguration, progress still seems unlikely.

    Verso presents a list of books from Israeli, Palestinian, and anti-imperialist authors, to explain the conflict and provide some perspectives on the future. 

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  • Perpetual War and Permanent Unrest: The Battle of Algiers After 9/11

    This essay is excerpted from Sohail Daulatzai's Fifty Years of The Battle of Algiers: Past as Prologue, published by the University of Minnesota Press. A new 4K restoration of The Battle of Algiers is currently touring theaters across the United States. 



    Though it is both troubling and telling, the screening of the film by the Pentagon in the aftermath of 9/11 and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan is only the latest chapter in the afterlife of The Battle of Algiers. In many ways, the film is a battleground and a microcosm of the enduring struggles between the West and the Rest, whiteness and its others. But in a post- 9/11 moment, it’s hard to ignore the ways in which the centrality and omnipresence of the figure of the Muslim and the “War on Terror” have not only coded and shaped every aspect of social life but have also sought to undermine the power and politics of The Battle of Algiers.

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