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The London bombings of 7 July 2005 revived the debates that raged after September 11 2001. How were they related to the foreign policies of the UK and the US? Were they symptoms of a cultural clash between deep-seated values, or signs of social crisis? The title refers to the famous thesis on the ‘Clash of Civilizations’. Achcar develops a counter-thesis, namely that the clashes we are witnessing do not oppose civilizations, but their dark sides. The war of aggression and occupation in Iraq led to blatant manifestations of Western barbarism, most strikingly epitomized by the torture at Abu-Ghraib, and inevitably nurtured fanatical Islamic and other counter-barbarisms. Each civilization produces a specific form of barbarism which tends to take over in periods of crisis. Accordingly, the Bush administration doesn’t embody the values of ‘Western civilization’ nor does Islamic fanaticism of the al-Qa‘ida type represent ‘Islamic civilization’. The clash between them is truly a ‘clash of barbarisms’.
Publisher: SAQI BOOKS
The route to any coherent understanding of our time runs through the issues addressed in this collection of essays: the political meaning of Islam, the relation of the West to the Islamic world, the new form of imperialism signaled first by the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and now by the U.S. occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the intractable conflict over Palestine. This volume brings together Gilbert Achcar’s major writings on these issues over the past decades. Achcar’s introductory essay, reflecting on the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, integrates these analyses in a major new account of the strategy of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East and its prospects. Achcar’s analyses are supple and inventive, and consistently informed by reflection on rival traditions of political thought and a deep knowledge of the region.
Publisher: PLUTO PRESS LONDON