The Legacy of Eqbal Ahmad

Eqbal-Ahmad-biography-coverSadly, Eqbal Ahmad is not as well remembered as he should be. Stuart Schaar’s marvelous new biography, Eqbal Ahmad: Critical Outsider in a Turbulent Agewill help rectify this unfortunate fact.

Among many other endeavours, Ahmad directed the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, collaborated with Algerian revolutionaries, edited the journal Race & Classwrote a column for the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, and sat trial for conspiring to kidnap Henry Kissinger. He was a Third Worldist, an internationalist, and a humanist in the very best sense of those terms.

Richard Falk puts it felicitously:

Eqbal Ahmad was a remarkable human being as well as a seminal progressive political thinker. In this illuminating intellectual biography, Stuart Schaar brings his subject to life, drawing on their long, intimate friendship and shared scholarly engagement with the politics of the Middle East and the Islamic world. Above all, Ahmad grasped the toxic interplay between the maladies of postcolonialism and the persistent imperial ambitions of the West better than any of his contemporaries.

In November I had the pleasure of interviewing Schaar about his book for Middle East Dialoguesa video series produced by the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver. Here it is.

Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia

Anyone who has not yet done so is encouraged to view John Pilger’s 1979 documentary “Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia”.

The documentary begins with Pilger’s narration:

At 7.30 A.M. on April the 17th, 1975, the war in Cambodia was over. It was a unique war, for no country has ever experienced such concentrated bombing. On this, perhaps the most gentle and graceful land in all of Asia, President Nixon and Mr. Kissinger unleashed 100,000 tons of bombs, the equivalent of five Hiroshimas”.

Watch the 52-minute film below the fold:

Continue reading “Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia”