- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Nation Books; 1 edition (January 31, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568587082
- ISBN-13: 978-1568587080
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,422,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Invisible Arab: The Promise and Peril of the Arab Revolutions 1st Edition
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Christopher Dickey, Newsweek/TheDailyBeast
Marwan Bishara's The Invisible Arab is the single most perceptive and accessible book I've read about the roots of revolt in the Middle East and the brave, chaotic, exciting and frightening new world they have begun to create.”
A keen, journalistic look at the making of the Arab Spring and its ramifications.”
[Bishara] brings a long perspective on the factors that have led to the Arab Spring and the challenges ahead as resisters take up the task of securing freedom and justice and reconciling the emerging sense of nationalism with democracy. Bishara captures the spirit and energy of the young resisters and the violent reactions in Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Syria.”
Marwan Bishara’s The Invisible Arab is a clear-headed and thought-provoking appraisal of the precarious but joyously hopeful place so many Arab nations find themselves after the Arab Spring’ of 2010-2011. Bishara is well-positioned to offer an intelligent appraisal of the forces that brought these revolutions to fragile birth, the political players involved and their capacity to retain power in a relatively benign fashion or succumb to the chaos and corruption that have plagued these nations in recent years .An engaging history of recent Arab revolutions, with a guardedly optimistic look at the future.”
An engaging new book [Bishara] delivers a sweeping, provocative and at times entertaining tale, revolution jokes and all .The Invisible Arab is an insightful and absorbing read for inquiring minds, and a valuable tool for students of the Middle East. As globally resonant events continue to unfold in the region, a sequel is clearly in order.”
Newsweek / Daily Beast
Avoiding the pitfall of seeing the revolution in isolation, Bishara elegantly charts how the potent forces of national-ism, Islamism, and Western intervention all mixed to create last year’s revolutions.”
About the Author
Top customer reviews
This is an insightful and well written documentation of the recent political and cultural revolutions in the Arab world. The author Marwan Bishara benefits from his long service as a political writer for Al Jazeera T.V. He was documenting the both the dependency of the Arab states and the apparent docility of the Arab masses before the outbreaks of last years. He new and had interviewed many of the youthful leaders.
I compared the accounts with recent testimonies given for example by Tunisian labor activists touring in the U.S., and with well informed commentary on the revolutionary developments by writers from the area.
Marwan Bishara has it just right. He describes well the over twenty year efforts at organizing against political repression in several key countries including Egypt and Tunisia. The Arab Spring was built upon decades of hard work by sincere democrats. His description of the economic and political dependency of Arab oligarchs on U.S. funding and U.S. policies are well developed.
His own experience at Al Jazeera provides a valuable addition to the Western accounts of a social media revolution. Those watching for a facebook revolution need to recognize the transformative nature of non government satellite T.V. prior to the Arab Spring. This is well document in other sources including the U.S. government's own criticisms of Al Jazeera in covering the war in Iraq. The broad Arab populist first learned of alternative views and options often from AL Jazeera and only later adopted Facebook, Google and You tube technologies to tell their stories. The two inter dependent media forms restructured the narrative of the Middle East and broke the ideological dominance of the repressive states and families. To primarily focus on social media and only the last two years is to misunderstand the social forces in play.
Of course much remains unsettled. The Tunisian revolution opened the doors, and the Egyptian revolution is substantially unfinished. It will probably take years. At the same time it is vital that U.S. readers understand what is transforming the middle east so as to not simply fall in line with the vested interests in the U.S. State Department and U.S. capital that are projecting a particular political line. We don't know how the Arab Springs will be resolved. But, we need to learn and to know that U.S. intervention, both militarily and through advocacy groups are based primarily on the interests of U.S. forces, including oil and military. We should be promoting a democratic, non intervention policy. It will take years, perhaps decades for the several Arab states to resolve their revolutions. We as democrats should respect that. How many Arabs intervened in the U.S. War of Independence.
There are many U.S. and western pundits giving us advice. If we believe in democracy and development we need to read and understand a number of Arab voices on the rapidly changing situations from Baharain, to Iraq, to Syria, Lebanon and the West Bank. Marwan Bishara has provided an introduction to several of the important complex issues.
Much of my own work has been in the area of U.S. relations with Latin America. It has been a constant source of struggle to understand Latin America from sources other than those of the U.S. foreign policy establishment in both political parties.
Reading The Invisible Arab: the Promise and Peril of the Arab Revolution convinces me that we in the U.S. have a similar problem in our understanding of the dynamic changes occurring in the Arab lands. Probably our most important role from the U.S. will be to oppose or prevent U.S. military and economic interventions against the democratic efforts of forces in the Arab Spring.
Author. Choosing Democracy: a practical guide to multicultural education. 2010.
I read this in the course of preparing for a talk I gave about the revolutions in North Africa and Southwest Asia.
Highlights of the book for me were coverage of the L'Ancien Régime and North American and European support for its regimes, profiles of activists who have been working in these countries for years and explaining the variety hidden by the term Islamist.
I might disagree with Ustaz Marwan about the assertion that these revolutions are Arab, and the corollary that Al-Jazeera had an outstanding role in building the revolutions' Arab character. Recently, there have been popular opposition movements in Ivory Coast, Senegal and Nigeria. What about the movement of South American countries away from the U.S. sphere of influence? What about Hondurans' resistance to the U.S.-organized coup in 2009? In other words, all over the world, people are resisting the Washington consensus and the local stooges enforcing it. Nevertheless, Ustaz Marwan's assertions in this regard are certainly worth discussing.
Worst, the book has so many internal contradictions that it is impossible to call it anything more than a haphazard collection of opinions and assertions. Technology is simultaneously portrayed as not a factor in the storyline of the Arab spring and central to its development. "The West" (as if it were on nation or easily defined force of a quarter of humanity) is vilified as considering pan Arabism a dream, while at the same time the author writes at length about the lack of genuine pan-Arabism.
Since the book is a somewhat real-time account, I expected the epilogue to help tie together the quickly and loosely cobbled text into a couple themes and speculations. Instead, it is a continuation of the confused monologue from the preceding pages: happy to gratuitously criticize, hedging wherever real risk of judgement is apparent, and returning to tired themes that, despite the author efforts to refute them, seem to be reinforced.