The Selected Writings of Eqbal Ahmad

Eqbal Ahmad. Edited by Carollee Bengelsdorf, Margaret Cerullo, and Yogesh Chandrani. Foreword by Noam Chomsky

Columbia University Press

The Selected Writings of Eqbal Ahmad

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Pub Date: June 2006

ISBN: 9780231127110

664 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $40.00£30.00

Pub Date: June 2006

ISBN: 9780231127103

664 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $120.00£89.00

The Selected Writings of Eqbal Ahmad

Eqbal Ahmad. Edited by Carollee Bengelsdorf, Margaret Cerullo, and Yogesh Chandrani. Foreword by Noam Chomsky

Columbia University Press

Activist, journalist, and theorist, Eqbal Ahmad (1934–1999) was admired and consulted by revolutionaries and activists as well as policymakers and academics. In articles and columns published in such journals as the Nation, New York Review of Books, Monthly Review, and newspapers in Pakistan and Cairo, Ahmad inspired new ways of thinking about global issues. Whether writing on the rise of militant Islam, the conflict in Kashmir, U.S. involvement in Vietnam, or the cynical logic of Cold War geopolitics, Ahmad offered incisive, passionate, and often prophetic analyses of the major political events and movements of the second half of the twentieth century.

This work is the first to collect Ahmad's writings in a single volume. It reflects his distinct understanding of world politics as well as his profound sense of empathy for those living in poverty and oppression. He was a fierce opponent of imperialism and corruption and advocated democratic transformations in postcolonial and third-world societies. A uniquely perceptive critic of colonialism and U.S. foreign policy, Ahmad was equally vigilant in his criticisms of third-world dictatorships.

Like few other writers, Ahmad's life experiences shaped his political views. He grew up amidst the turmoil of postcolonial India, worked alongside the Algerian FLN in their fight against the French occupation, and later became a prominent spokesperson for peace between Israel and Palestine.

It is a fascinating experience to view major events of the past half century through Eqbal Ahmad's discerning eye.

Noam Chomsky

Eqbal Ahmad was perhaps the shrewdest and most original anti-imperialist analyst of the postwar world. Ahmad's themes were always liberation and injustice, or how to achieve the first without reproducing more of the second. Humanity and genuine secularism in this blood-drenched old century of ours had no finer champion.

Edward Said, author of Orientalism

Eqbal Ahmad...was a voice of faith and courage—faith in mankind, faith in decency, faith in knowledge and facts

Seymour M. Hersh, author of Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib

Eqbal Ahmad is a brilliant man with brilliant insights. My only complaint about him is that he is not here now, when we need him most.

Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things

Ahmad's world outlook transcends nationalist pride, expressing a profound passion for the equal right to dignity of humans in every corner of the globe. His knowledge of world affairs was formidable, coming in part from his personal acquaintance with important political actors on several continents. His style, both in speaking and writing, was dramatic and witty. He was not an armchair analyst, but a participant in some of the most important struggles of our time in Algeria, in Vietnam, in Palestine. He was never bound by a single ideology, always committed to social justice and nonviolence. In short, an exemplary human being.

Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

This collection transports one back to Eqbal's living room, where he is sitting on the floor, talking politics until the early hours of the morning. It beautifully orchestrates the discussion in its excellent organization and in the manner in which the introductions to each section underscore the themes central to Eqbal's thought. Eqbal's commitment to a revolutionary politics that is moral rather than tactical, to fostering a transnational intellectual and political community, has never been more germane. Despite its sorrow at the betrayals of revolutionary struggles, this book is filled with hope in the power of people and ideas to remake history.

Amrita Basu, professor of political science and women and gender studies, Amherst College

I've spent much of my adult life, it seems, reading and learning from Eqbal Ahmad. He was a voice of faith and courage—faith in mankind, faith in decency, faith in knowledge and facts, and the courage to always tell truth to power, no matter what the personal risk. In these essays, his legacy, he told us how to deal with Osama bin Laden and his terrorism. We did not listen.

Seymour M. Hersh, author of Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib

For those looking to muster intellectual resources with which to negotiate a way through the War on Terror, Ahmad is a must read.

Mahmood Mamdani, author of Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

People like Ahmad do not come along often. That is why the publication of his Selected Writings is an occasion for sorrow as well as celebration.

Amitava Kumar, The Nation

The editors of this work have rightfully collected the best writings... to demonstrate [Ahmad's] continued relevance in this turbulent world.

Stuart Schaar, Journal of Palestine Studies

About the Author

Carollee Bengelsdorf, professor of politics at Hampshire College, holds an A.B. from Cornell University, studied Russian history at Harvard University, and received a Ph.D. in political science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is interested in political development in Southern Africa and other Third World areas. She has conducted research in Algeria, Cuba, and Peru, and has been a school teacher in Kenya and Honduras.

Margaret Cerullo is a professor of sociology and feminist studies at Hampshire College. She has been involved with the following publications: "Beyond the Normal Family: A Cultural Critique of Women's Poverty," in Rochelle Lefkowitz and Ann Withorn's edition of For Crying Out Loud: Women and Poverty in the US (New York: Pilgrim Press, 1986); "Family and Free Time: The Politics of Leisure," (co-authored) Radical America, ibid.; reprinted in Antipode, Special Issue on Women and the Environment, 1983.

Yogesh Chandrani is currently a graduate student at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. He was Assistant Director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA from 1993-2000. He is co-editor with Michael Klare of World Security: Challenges for a New Century (St. Martin's Press, 2000).

About the Author

Noam Chomsky is professor emeritus of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international affairs, and U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of more than one hundred books.

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