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Imran Khan

Tariq Ali, 17 November 2011

... Jinnah announced the movement for a separate Muslim state in 1940 and it was here that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1971 and his daughter Benazir in 1986 launched their campaigns against the country’s military dictators. This gathering was larger than any of those, and Imran was in confident mood. ‘I have a bone to pick with you Lahoris,’ he said. ‘It ...

Short Cuts

Tariq Ali: Crooked Cricket, 8 May 2014

... Globalised cricket​ – epitomised by the Indian Premier League with its billions, its imported cheerleaders, its shady business deals, its manic marketing – is enmeshed in crisis. The seventh surreal season of the IPL is currently taking place in Dubai and Sharjah, an emirate that was once considered out of bounds for Indian teams because it is the centre of the betting mafia that dominates world cricket ...

Le Journal and Le Club

Tariq Ali: Mediapart, 23 October 2014

... Walking​ from the Bastille to the rue Saint-Antoine in Paris a few weeks ago, I was thinking how swiftly the last few decades have taken their revenge on the past. The spectacle that overshadows all else in France today is the collapse of the political civilisation whose foundations were laid in 1789. Radical France – its intelligentsia, its political parties, its cinema and its press – has been neo-liberalised ...

Short Cuts

Tariq Ali: The Charlie Hebdo Massacre, 22 January 2015

... It was​ a horrific event. It was condemned in most parts of the world and most poignantly by many cartoonists. Those who planned the atrocity chose their target carefully. They knew that such an act would create the maximum horror. It was quality, not quantity they were after. The response will not have surprised or displeased them. They don’t care a damn for the world of unbelievers ...


Tariq Ali: In Pakistan, 19 June 2003

... and his daughter had gone to investigate. He told me that a 60-year-old peasant called Amer Ali had been shot by the Rangers as he walked out of a neighbour’s house. Villagers said that the Rangers had been trying to intimidate them. They had fired their machine-guns for a whole hour while families cowered in their houses. ‘It’s like a colonial ...

Short Cuts

Tariq Ali: Elections in Pakistan, 7 February 2013

... Pakistan is preparing for elections in May and June, and an all-party caretaker government will soon take over to supervise the process. Meanwhile, things continue as eventfully as usual. There has been yet another clash between the Supreme Court and the Zardari government; a previously obscure Muslim cleric returned from Canada to lead what he hoped would be a ‘million-strong’ anti-corruption march to Islamabad; and two factories in Lahore and Karachi have burned to a cinder with the workers still inside ...

Short Cuts

Tariq Ali: Af-Pak, 19 November 2009

... It’s been a bad autumn for Nato in Afghanistan, with twin disasters on the political and military fronts. First, Kai Eide, the UN headman in Kabul, a well-meaning, but not very bright Norwegian, fell out with his deputy, Peter Galbraith, who as the de facto representative of the US State Department had decreed that President Karzai’s election was rigged and went public about it ...

Short Cuts

Tariq Ali: Trouble in Sri Lanka, 25 April 2013

... Four years after the killing of between eight and ten thousand Tamils by the Sri Lankan army, which brought to an end a civil war that had lasted for 26 years, there is trouble on the island again. This time the army isn’t directly responsible: instead it’s the Buddhist monks from Bodu Bala Sena, the most active of the fundamentalist groups that have sprouted in Sinhalese strongholds ...

After Lahore

Tariq Ali: It’s not just cricket, 26 March 2009

... The immediate casualty of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore earlier this month will be the future of cricket in Pakistan. A few optimists point out that the Munich massacre didn’t bring the 1972 Olympics to a halt. But I doubt whether even Zimbabwe could now be induced to come and play at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Who can blame them? Pakistan’s captain, Younus Khan, who scored a triple century in the Karachi test a few days before the atrocity, is in mourning ...

Winged Words

Tariq Ali: On Muhammad, 17 June 2021

by Maxime Rodinson, translated by Anne Carter.
NYRB, 373 pp., £14.99, March 2021, 978 1 68137 492 5
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... was necessary, the Quran says, ‘for she desired him and he would have taken her.’ Imam Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, believed that Joseph was about to fall. Another Muslim exegetist, Ibn Abbas, goes further: ‘He undid his trousers, adopting the posture of traitors.’ According to the ultra-orthodox exegete Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Joseph ...

Modi does it again

Tariq Ali, 6 June 2019

... That​ Narendra Modi’s party would win again was never really in dispute. The only question was whether the BJP (the Bharatiya Janata, or Indian Peoples’ Party), would emerge merely as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha, and thus be forced to seek coalition partners, or whether it would repeat its astonishing success of 2014 and govern alone ...

Before the War

Tariq Ali, 24 March 2022

... No one​ knows how this will end. Putin’s reckless adventurism has backfired: an attempt to mimic the US on a GDP of $1.5 trillion, smaller even than Italy and minuscule compared to China ($14.7 trillion), was always going to be foolhardy. If he imagined a quick sortie, akin to a colonial-style ‘police operation’, he must now realise that installing Yanukovych or another puppet president in Kyiv will commit Russia to maintaining a massive military presence in Ukraine ...


Tariq Ali: In Cairo, 5 June 2014

... Conversations​ in Cairo are punctuated by dates: 11 February (Mubarak’s fall), 24 June (Morsi’s election), 30 June (Sisi’s coup), which takes a bit of getting used to. On the street murals depicting the martyrs are defaced with black ink; barbed wire, state-constructed barricades and gates used to seal off roads remain in place. My publisher, Karem Youssef, talks me through the geography of the uprising, describing how she herself was radicalised as week followed week ...

Short Cuts

Tariq Ali: So much for England, 23 January 2020

... There’s​ no point being tribal now. Let’s face it: Johnson won the election because the Tories pledged to implement the result of the 2016 referendum without any more shilly-shallying. Democracy matters. Labour’s rejection of the referendum outcome at its bubble party conference last September did them in. John McDonnell was right to take the blame for the defeat ...


Tariq Ali: Murder in the Family, 18 December 2008

... If cheating in bed was always settled by the bullet, many of us would be dead. Gerald Martin’s new biography of Gabriel García Márquez reveals that Chronicle of a Death Foretold was based on the murder of the novelist’s friend Cayetano Gentile in Sucre in 1951. He had seduced, deflowered and abandoned Margarita Chica Salas. On her wedding day Margarita’s husband was told that she was no longer a virgin ...

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