Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Middle East Category
Islamic State and the Spectacle of Terror

Islamic State and the Spectacle of Terror

  • September 20, 2014
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In Don de Lillo’s 1991 novel Mao II, the writer-protagonist Bill Gray declares: “Years ago I thought it was possible for a novelist to alter the inner life of the culture.   Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken over that territory.   They make raids on human consciousness.”

De Lillo was writing at a time when the notion that the world had entered an ‘age of terror’ was already firmly embedded in the political and security discourse of the late twentieth century.    As Bill Gray suggests, it was widely-believed that the impact of terrorism...

Gaza: Who Won?

  • August 31, 2014
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After seven weeks of horrendous violence,   the third Gaza war is over, leaving an eye-wateringly lop-sided audit of destruction.   On the Palestinian side, more than 2,143 people have been killed, included more than 400 children, and thousands injured.   17, 200 homes have been destroyed, and 100, 000 Palestinians made homeless.

Israel has levelled...

Why ISIS Eyes are Smiling

Why ISIS Eyes are Smiling

  • August 22, 2014
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You can loathe the Islamic State (IS) all you like, and an organization that beheads prisoners and posts videos boasting about it, rapes women, crucifies Christians and uses its primitive interpretation of Islam as a justification to murder anyone with impunity, deserves all the loathing and disgust that it receives.

But that doesn’t mean you should...

Indiana Cameron and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Cameron and the Temple of Doom

  • August 18, 2014
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Of all the Indian Jones films, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is for me the most obnoxious, with its racist stereotyping and casual recycling of nineteenth century imperialist cliches about white men saving childlike dark-skinned folk from the clutches of a demonic native death cult.

In his great essay ‘Shooting an Elephant’   George Orwell...

Silencing Israel’s Critics: a new McCarthyism?

  • August 13, 2014
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Israel has always depended heavily on emotional and moral blackmail to influence public debate internationally and neutralize its critics.     Few supporters of South African apartheid ever openly defended the system itself, whatever they believed privately.     Even when governments were broadly supportive of the apartheid regime,   such as the British government...

Sheridan in Gaza: the Palestinians as ‘Indians’

  • August 10, 2014
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Despite the growing media criticism of Israel during the Gaza ‘conflict,’ there is still a general refusal or reluctance amongst mainstream journalists to acknowledge or analyse the broader strategic logic of Israeli violence.     Too often, journalists accept the dominant Israeli narrative that its actions in Gaza are entirely directed towards stopping the rockets...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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