Bechara, Soha. Resistance: My Life for Lebanon 2003. Soft Skull Press. USA.

I found this book in a small radical bookshop in Saskatoon this summer, just as the invasion of Lebanon ended with a ceasefire after incredible death and damage had been wreaked in a few days. I know little about this country and even less about Lebanese women so I bought it with interest. And I learned a lot about Lebanon and its political history. What I also found was a very intimate story of a bright young woman from happy Lebanese family with a Christian mother and a Communist father and how she became a member of a secret resistance group, Read more [...]

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Barta, Armando, editor. Profound Rivers of Mesoamerica: Alternatives to Plan Puebla Panama. 3rd Edition. Mexican Solidarity Network.

This is a collection of essays, research and reports on ‘development’ as it affects the people who have to live with it and who had little to say about it. Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) is intended to be privatized, globalized economic development of a vast area from Mexico, through Central America to Panama that will only benefit capital and its collaborators. Many of the writers explain the details of this scheme and the anticipated social, economic and environmental results of such a neoliberal model – a plan that would among other effects, Read more [...]

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Baroud, Ramzy. My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story. 2010. Pluto Press, London, UK.

Ramzy Baroud is the founder and editor of an online news service and he has written several books about Palestine. This new book is the story of just one man, not famous or particularly special — only special in that he is Ramzy´s father and that through the story of his life, the tragedy of Gaza is revealed. He was probably born in 1938 to poor farmers in the village of Beit Daras in Palestine, (see: a village with a long history and important archaeological sites NE of Gaza City. Read more [...]

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Baroud, Ramzy. THE SECOND PALESTINIAN INTIFADA: a Chronicle of a People´s Struggle. 2006. Pluto Press, London, UK.

This book fulfills its title´s promise; it is an informative, engrossing, readable and moving history; a chronicle in the best sense of a period and place for which we have had little news or analysis that is not filtered by the aggressors of Palestine and their friends worldwide. In their foreword, Kathleen and Bill Christison write that, “The Palestinian—Israeli conflict has gone beyond being a mere political problem, beyond the stuff of cool debate. It is a human disaster that can no longer be treated with dispassion… The Israeli Read more [...]

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Barndt, Deborah, editor. Wild Fire: Art as Activism 2006. Sumach Press, Toronto, Canada.

The title of this anthology of mainly young activist women from an academic discipline intrigued me right away. I often think of art & activism, sometimes connected, sometimes separate. But Art as Activism implies a relationship of deeper integration. The twenty–one contributors have been graduate students of the editor; in this anthology they express their creativity as activism – a process that reaches out to the community to participate in social transformation. In her introduction the editor, Deborah Barndt of the Faculty of Environmental Read more [...]

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Barlow, Maude and Tony Clarke. BLUE GOLD: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water 2002. The New Press. USA

"Although world water supplies are dwindling and transnational corporations are working hard to reap substantial profits from that scarce resource, it is not too late to turn the situation around" This quote sums up the authors' overview of the diminishing global supply of a resource most of us take for granted. But as new frontiers for capitalist expansion shrink and disappear, politically and geographically, the corporate world has turned in recent decades to the privatization of the commons and making commodities out of lifeÂ’s necessities. Read more [...]

Filed under Book Reviews, Maud Barlow, Tony Clarke

Barghouti, Omar. BDS: BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights. 2011. Haymarket Books, USA

“The BDS campaign is among the most important forms of such ´resolute struggle´ by the great majority of Palestinians, who resist the colonization of their land and minds and demand nothing less than self–determination, freedom, justice and unmitigated equality…” Barghouti is one of the new generation Palestinian activists, grounded in the life of a people under siege and understanding the importance of social movements and global solidarity. He writes that Palestinians through social movements have surpassed their leadership and have Read more [...]

Filed under Book Reviews, Omar Barghouti

Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT AND OTHER POEMS. 2008. Arc Publications. UK

“We have to be precise. Creative writing is a critical process” Except for his memoir, most of this poet´s works are not published in English. This is a first – a gift to English–only readers – a major collection of Barghouti´s poetry (it also prints the Arabic original on the opposite pages.) Midnight, 142 pages long, is a story in a poem of a prisoner, the story of loss, displacement and loneliness. The poem of one who seems to have only poetry left. What makes it poetry is the leanness of language, the precision that rejects Read more [...]

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Barghouti, Mourid. I Saw Ramallah Translated from the Arabic by Ahdaf Soueif. 2000. Anchor Books, Random House. USA and Canada.

In his introduction to this beautiful memoir the late Edward Said says: what gives this book an unmistakeable stamp of profound authenticity is its life-affirming poetic texture . This is no surprise as Barghouti is indeed a poet of great sensitivity, he is the author of nine books of poetry; few of his poems are translated into English. For us in the English-speaking minority world, the idea that there is a body of Palestinian literature is probably as remote and unbelievable as the idea that there is a land and history of a country called Read more [...]

Filed under Book Reviews, Mourid Barghouti

Barghouti, Mourid. I Was Born There, I Was Born Here. 2011. Bloomsbury Publishing. London, UK

Silence said:/truth needs no eloquence./After the death of the horseman,/ the homeward-bound horse/says everything/ without saying anything. The exile longs for home, longs to say, “I was born here.” Twice the exiled Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti has been able to return to his homeland and say that instead of “I was born there”. Exiles live constantly between these realities; and for Barghouti in his second volume of memoirs he is able to put ´emotions into history´; a true sense of identity is all about emotions. He can Read more [...]

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Bales, Kevin. Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. University of California Press, USA and UK.

If water is essential to human society and our global economy it seems that a vast labour pool of unprotected and dispensable workers is just as vital. If we think slavery went out a few centuries ago, it is time to think again. Slavery exists today in many forms from child labour in agriculture in much of the world to sex slavery, organized as a global business in Asia, but also the result of wars everywhere to brutal physical labour in resource extraction and manufacturing world wide. This is a depressing overview of humanity's inhumanity, but Read more [...]

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Azoulay, Ariella. From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation. 1947-50. 2011. Pluto Press. London, UK

“This book reads them [photographs] in a manner that presents a new way to write history – history through photographs.” When I was in London a few months ago, I had the good fortune to see an exhibition of the photos and text in this book at the Qattan Foundation in Earl´s Court. This book reproduced both the photos & text and the impact of these images and the explanatory words is just as powerful as the exhibition. This is a graphic document of the transformation of one country into another; a transformation marked by treachery, Read more [...]

Filed under Ariella Azoulay, Book Reviews