In a new book called I Am Akbar Agha, the former Taliban insider recounts memories of jihad and the 1980s that forged the militant group’s identity. What follows is the book’s foreword by Anand Gopal, whose own book—No Good Men Among the Living—was just nominated for a National Book Award.
You can now read the complete foreword to I Am Akbar Agha (just published by First Draft Publishing) on Vice’s website.
Hope this will encourage more people to pick up Akbar Agha’s book…
Alex and Matt are joined by Erin Cunningham, the Egypt-based correspondent for the Washington Post. Erin has previously worked for Global Post and the Christian Science Monitor in Afghanistan and across the Middle East and North Africa. We discuss how she goes about telling the stories of the people who live in places like Egypt, and why she thinks it’s important work. We delve into the practicalities of her job and how she keeps track of things going on in the region.
Very happy to have had the chance to talk with Erin Cunningham this week on the Sources and Methods podcast.
Our first publication at First Draft Publishing is Akbar Agha’s I am Akbar Agha. It is now on sale at Amazon, the iBookstore and other online outlets. Saba Imtiaz, another First Draft Publishing author, spoke to Akbar Agha last December about his book and what he hoped to…
An archive of the revolution’s most important blogs, videos, statements, reports, artworks, channels, etc. This blog serves as an informative reference for any individual who wants to understand the revolution (and the situation) in all its complexities. Please share widely!
To some news outlets—including the big news agencies Reuters, the Associated Press, and Agence France-Presse, as well as al-Jazeera—it’s the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,” or ISIL. To others—among them the New York Times—it’s the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (or in some cases “Greater Syria”), or ISIS. Quite a few places write “…the Levant,” but then bizarrely abbreviate it to ISIS (we’re looking at you, Financial Times and Guardian).
Nor is the confusion restricted to English-language media. In French the reigning phrase appears to be l’Etat Islamique en Irak et au Levant (EIIL). But in Spain, El Pais has chosen El Estado Islámico en Irak y el Levante (EIIL), while its rival newspaper El Mundo has gone with Estado Islámico de Irak y Siria, and uses the English acronym ISIS. In Germany, Deutsche Welle uses ISIS in both its English and German versions, but writes out “…the Levant” on its English site and “…und Syrien” on its German one; meanwhile, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit and the Frankfurter Allgemeine have gone with ISIS while Die Welt plumps for ISIL. The BBC Russian service, like much of the Russian media, uses the Russian equivalent of ISIL—whereas the BBC in English spells out “Levant” but then uses ISIS.
I’m still choosing to refer to them as DAIISH. (The group’s name in Arabic is al-dawla al-islamiyye f’il iraq w’al-sham).
Garbage castleToday I spent the entire day going through medieval garbage. That is to say, I went though boxes filled with remains of medieval and early-modern books, which were stored in the archives of Maastricht, in the south of Holland. The snippets and sheets were thrown out centuries ago, but were subsequently fished out of the bin because a new purpose was found for them: recycling. Many ended up in the dark inside of bookbindings, where they supported boards and backs. Not the example above, however, which was used for a more artistic purpose, likely in the late 16th century: the large blank space was perfect for doodling a castle on - and two of its inhabitants. A draft, no doubt, a practice run before the real deal was undertaken. Someone liked it enough, however, to hang on to, although the sheet ultimately shared the fate of his peers - the bin. It may have been recycled again, ultimately ending up filed in a box, and then, today, in my hands. I just love this well-traveled garbage castle.
Pic (my own): Maastricht, Regionaal Historisch Centrum Limburg, 18.A Nr. 208.
Great post! The accident of survival never ceases to amaze me. What we have, and what has been lost.
omg i love this so fucking much