Posted by Joshua on Sunday, October 7th, 2007
THERE ARE books that change people's consciousness and change history. Some tell a story, like Harriet Beech Stowe's 1851 "Uncle Tom's Cabin", which gave a huge impetus to the campaign for the abolition of slavery. Others take the form of a political treatise, like Theodor Herzl's "Der Judenstaat", which gave birth to the Zionist movement. Or they can be scientific in nature, like Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species", which changed the way humanity sees itself. And perhaps political satire, too, can shake the world, like "1984" by George Orwell.
Condoleezza Rice opposed Israel’s attack on Syrian nuclear site. US Secretary of state persuaded the Israelis to delay military strike on Syria last month. London Times
Regrets Only? By DEXTER FILKINS in NY Times Sunday Magazine (This is a brilliant article. Read all)
Kanan Makiya spent years in exile advocating the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The war he supported brought about an Iraq he never imagined…..
Then came Fouad Ajami, a Johns Hopkins professor of Middle East history, a Lebanese-American intimately identified with the Iraqi project. The American invasion of Iraq, Ajami said between bites of fish, would yet prove to be a transforming moment in the region. “Persuading the Americans to take down Saddam was Chalabi’s finest hour,” Ajami said, referring to the Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi. The conversation drifted along on a cloud of agreement until Kanan Makiya, an Iraqi intellectual and professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at Brandeis University near Boston, leaned forward to pose a question.
“How many Iraqis have died since 2003?” Makiya asked his friends.
There was silence at the table. Makiya was asking the others, but he also seemed to be asking himself.
“Five hundred thousand?” Makiya mused. “Two hundred thousand? What are the estimates?”
Someone said something about a study.
“It’s getting closer to Saddam,” Makiya said. Then he sat back in his chair, and the conversation continued on its way…..
Where did it go wrong? Makiya asks himself. Or, more precisely, where did he go wrong? It’s the second question that Makiya is finding the most troubling, for it concerns a lifetime of believing, as he puts it, that hope can triumph over experience. “I want to look into myself, look at myself, delve into the assumptions I had before the war,” he told me.
Makiya’s life is no longer what it was. In 2003, on returning to Iraq, he reunited with his sweetheart from high-school days, married and took her back to Cambridge. He also found out he has chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the same disease that killed Edward Said, the Palestinian-born Columbia University professor and Makiya’s intellectual nemesis….