Death to America Day

Roger Hardy

  • Europe and the Mystique of Islam by Maxime Rodinson, translated by Roger Veinus
    Tauris, 163 pp, £19.50, April 1988, ISBN 1 85043 104 3
  • The Political Language of Islam by Bernard Lewis
    Chicago, 168 pp, £11.95, July 1988, ISBN 0 226 47692 8
  • Islam and Revolution in the Middle East by Henry Munson
    Yale, 180 pp, £15.95, June 1988, ISBN 0 300 04127 6

There was rage and defiance, as well as humiliation, in the remarkable speech broadcast in Ayatollah Khomeini’s name on 20 July. In drinking the poisoned chalice of a truce with Iraq, he hurled execration at his enemies like some latterday Lear. Islam would he avenged on America, Israel and the house of Saud. The survival of the Islamic revolution required an unpalatable peace with the enemy next door, but there could be no let-up in Islam’s war against those ‘world-devourers’ – Zionism, capitalism and communism. Earlier in the month, on 3 July, when the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian civil airliner over the Gulf, and America and the Islamic Republic of Iran seemed on the verge of open war, the victims were mourned in what was officially declared ‘Death to America Day’.

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