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Tariq Ali: In Pyongyang, 26 January 2012

... In this podcast, Tariq Ali reads extracts from his Diary about North Korea. The full article is below. Forty-two years ago, I was mysteriously invited to visit North Korea. Pakistan’s military dictatorship had been toppled after a three-month struggle and in March 1970 the country was in the throes of its first ever general election campaign ...

The Filthy Rich Election

Tariq Ali: Pakistan’s New Rulers, 20 June 2013

... regime in order, it was claimed, to protect industry from harassment by state inspectors. Ali Enterprises, the factory that burned down in Karachi, somehow passed an inspection by a New York-based body called Social Accountability International. As for outright crimes, it’s best to use the cloak of religion to justify them. This effectively ...

‘What does one do?’

Tariq Ali: The Floods in Pakistan, 23 September 2010

... As if everyday life in Pakistan weren’t dispiriting enough, last month the swift and turbulent Indus burst its banks and swathes of the country disappeared under water. Divine punishment, the poor said, but they were the ones who suffered. Allah rarely targets the rich. As the floods came and the country panicked, its president fled the bunker and went on a tour of inspection to France and Britain ...


Tariq Ali: In Lahore, 20 February 2020

... The day​ I arrived in Lahore, two stories dominated the newspapers’ front pages. The Supreme Court had declared the Ministry of Railways the most corrupt department in the country. No surprises there: the minister in charge, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, a veteran rogue who has served in almost every government over the last three decades, making lots of money along the way, is currently an MP for Imran Khan’s Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI) government ...

Not Crushed, Merely Ignored

Tariq Ali: Death in Kashmir, 22 July 2010

... youth whose only claim to office is dynastic. ‘Farooq Abdullah,’ he told me, ‘is our Asif Ali Zardari when it comes to corruption. Now he’s made his son chief minister so that he can concentrate on managing his various businesses.’ The opposition isn’t much better. Some Kashmiris, the journalist said, call Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the effective ...

The New World Disorder

Tariq Ali, 9 April 2015

... talking politics.’ At the lunch, he said: ‘Now it’s time for questions – I’ll start off. Tariq Ali, I read the piece you wrote in the Guardian arguing that Tony Blair should be charged for war crimes in the International Criminal Court. Do you mind explaining why?’ I spent about ten minutes explaining, to the bemusement of the Syrian ...

‘It didn’t need to be done’

Tariq Ali: The Muslim Response, 5 February 2015

... In the week​ following the atrocities, a wave of moral hysteria swept France. ‘Je suis Charlie’ became almost obligatory. The Hollande/Valls message was simple: either you were for the magazine or for the terrorists. Quite a few, now as in 2001, were for neither. These included Henri Roussel, the 80-year-old founder of Hara-Kiri, the title under which Charlie Hebdo was published before it was forced into a name change – it was banned by the French government for insulting the corpse of Charles de Gaulle ...


Tariq Ali: In Cochabamba, 21 June 2007

... The 1960s skyscrapers of Caracas seemed uglier than usual. The Hotel Gran Melia wasn’t very appealing either. The kitsch ceiling in the giant lobby was reminiscent of the Dubai School (why does oil wealth seem to result in such bad architecture?) and I wished I was staying, as I normally do, at the shabby, bare, miserable but atmospheric Hilton. I was in Caracas to speak at a conference on global media networks and to attend a meeting of the advisory board of the Spanish/Portuguese cable news channel Telesur – set up jointly by Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Cuba and now Ecuador ...


Tariq Ali: Al-Jazeera, 22 August 2002

... In Cairo and Abu Dhabi, the two Arab capitals I have visited this year, street and palace are for once in harmony. A pre-emptive strike against Saddam Hussein on the grounds that he might, at some point in the future, authorise the production of nuclear weapons, would be, for the people of the region, a classic display of imperial double-standards. They know that the only country which possesses both nuclear and chemical weapons is Israel ...


Tariq Ali: On the North-West Frontier, 23 July 2009

... rumours came into the open at the end of June, when the head of the Bhutto clan, Mumtaz Ali Bhutto, chairman of the Sind National Front, publicly accused Zardari at a press conference, alleging that ‘the killer of Murtaza Bhutto had also murdered Benazir … Now I am his target. A hefty amount has been paid to mercenaries to kill me.’ (Zardari ...

Salman Taseer Remembered

Tariq Ali, 20 January 2011

... Mumtaz Hussain Qadri smiled as he surrendered to his colleagues after shooting Salman Taseer, the governor of the Punjab, dead. Many in Pakistan seemed to support his actions; others wondered how he’d managed to get a job as a state bodyguard in the carefully screened Elite Force. Geo TV, the country’s most popular channel, reported, and the report has since been confirmed, that ‘Qadri had been kicked out of Special Branch after being declared a security risk,’ that he ‘had requested that he not be fired on but arrested alive if he managed to kill Taseer’ and that ‘many in Elite Force knew of his plans to kill Salman Taseer ...


Tariq Ali: Libya during the Cartoon Controversy, 9 March 2006

... ultra-orthodox to any perceived insult to him is incomprehensible. Muhammad’s son-in law, Caliph Ali, the posthumous inspirer of the Shia faction of Islam, and his sons, Hasan and Hussein, are also represented in various religious art forms in Iran and worshipped. As for religious ‘pain’, this is, mercifully, an experience denied unbelievers like myself ...

Unhappy Yemen

Tariq Ali: In Yemen, 25 March 2010

... greatly. We have other problems, real and more important.’ His view was reiterated by Saleh Ali Ba-Surah, the minister for higher education, a grandee educated in East Germany, like many others from what until 1990 was the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, the southern part of the present state. The two parts of what now constitutes the Republic ...


Tariq Ali: In Athens, 30 July 2015

... In the early hours​ of 16 July, the Greek parliament voted overwhelmingly to give up its sovereignty and become a semi-colonial appendage of the EU. A majority of the Syriza Central Committee had already come out against the capitulation. There had been a partial general strike. Tsipras had threatened to resign if fifty of his MPs voted against him ...

The Terror Trail

Tariq Ali: The real story of Daniel Pearl, 20 May 2004

A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Daniel Pearl 
by Mariane Pearl.
Virago, 278 pp., £7.99, March 2004, 1 84408 126 5
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Who Killed Daniel Pearl? 
by Bernard-Henri Lévy.
Duckworth, 454 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 7156 3261 2
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... Most of those killed during the first two years of the ‘war on terror’ have already been forgotten. An exception is Daniel Pearl, the South Asia bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, who, early in 2002, was lured to a fashionable restaurant in Karachi, kidnapped and then executed by his captors. A video showing Pearl’s throat being slit was distributed to the Western media and a gruesome clip was shown on CBS news ...

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