Tariq Ali


British Pakistani Historian, Novelist, Journalist, Filmmaker, Public Intellectual, Political Campaigner and Activist

Author Quotes

We underestimated our own capacity for self-destruction.

Simple and clear choices. To turn or to kill, or to die and swords in our hands

The fire which burnt our books will one day destroy everything we have created in Al-Andalus, including this little village built by our forefathers.

The heathen could only be eliminated as a force if their culture was completely erased.

There are different versions of Islam... it is meaningless to claim to speak in the name of a ?real? Islam.

To fight tyranny and oppression by using tyrannical and oppressive means, to combat a single-minded and ruthless fanaticism by becoming equally fanatical and ruthless, will not further the cause of justice or bring about a meaningful democracy. It can only prolong the cycle of violence.

Tragedies are always discussed as if they took place in a void, but actually each tragedy is conditioned by its setting, local and global. The events of 11 September 2001 are not exception.

Human beings are divided into two categories only two. Villains enlightened, or religious fools

If every single Jew born anywhere in the world has the right to become an Israeli citizen, then all the Palestinians who were chucked out of Palestine by the Zionist Government should have the same right, very simple.

In every twenty-four hours there is always an hour filled with grief and lamentation of the same, and confusion and a desire to see other faces, but it is just an hour does not soon pass

In the times of ignorance, one has to learn the art of ignorance.

Let's discuss the world. To answer the question, "is globalization possible without God", the simple answer is "yes". Globalization is after all itself a code word, a mask, for not using the C-word, capitalism. Globalization is basically the latest phase of expanding capitalism. This not something which is neutral, this is a capitalism that has its rules: it has its economic rules, it has its political rules, it has its cultural rules and it has its military rules. It is a system. At the heart of this system is the United States of America, the world's only existing empire today. The first time in the history of humanity that you have just had a single empire, so dominant, whose military budget is higher than the military budgets of the next 15 countries put together, and whose military-industrial complex itself is the eleventh largest economic entity in the world. This is the reality we live in, and this is the reality which confronts us in different ways.

Oh my son, sighed Ama. I was talking to the shadows of the pomegranate trees. At least they will be here when we are all gone.

Re-nationalize the railways. Cut military spending. Argue with whoever says it can?t be done.

The government of the US has no moral authority to elect itself as the judge over human rights in Cuba, where there has not been a single case of disappearance, torture or extra-judicial execution since 1959, and where despite the economic blockade, there are levels of health, education and culture that are internationally recognized.

This is the permanent tension that lies at the heart of a capitalist democracy and is exacerbated in times of crisis. In order to ensure the survival of the richest, it is democracy that has to be heavily regulated rather than capitalism.

We live, after all, in a world where illusions are sacred and truth profane.

Even if you reject everything, it is always better to know what it is you are rejecting.

For all their incoherence and senseless rage, their message is attractive to those layers of the population who yearn for some order in their lives. If the fanatics promise to feed them and educate their children they are prepared to forgo the delights of CNN and BBC World.

How we live our lives does not, unfortunately depend on us alone. Circumstances, good or bad, constantly intervene. A person close to us dies. A person not so close to us carries on living. All these things affect how we live.

It was civil disobedience that won them their civil rights.

Monotonous talk of the end of American hegemony, the universal cliché of the period, is mostly a way of avoiding mounting a serious opposition to it.

Proximity to power has an unsurprising ability to mutate a politician's spinal cord into bright yellow jelly.

That natural disasters are required to provide Americans with a glimpse of reality in their own country is an indication of the deep rot infecting the official political culture.

No ruling class in the whole of history has given up power voluntarily and I don't see that changing.

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British Pakistani Historian, Novelist, Journalist, Filmmaker, Public Intellectual, Political Campaigner and Activist