Woke vs anti-Woke: What Priyamvada Gopal and Douglas Murray have in Common

A colourful Twitter beef that caught the eye this summer in the wake of the George Floyd murder at the hands of racist police officers, pitted the esteemed University of Cambridge Professor, Priyamvada Gopal against the right-wing Etonian author Douglas Murray. Gopal has positioned herself as the British liberal establishment’s leading connoisseur for all currents that oppose imperialism and require decolonisation. She published her tomb, Insurgent Empire to rave reviews. While Murray’s bestselling books on immigration and the culture wars has earned him millions of followers. His book, The Strange Death of Europe is one of the leading go-to books for right-wingers on contemporary immigration.

The pithy indictments they fired at each other on Twitter were standard schoolyard barbs. Murray sanctimoniously sneered at Gopal spending time on Twitter as compensation for her lack of academic repertoire, while Gopal predictably retorted that Murray finds it difficult a woman of colour lectures at Cambridge. Their adversarial tweets were not only aimed at each other but also clearly played to their on-line base. Gopal’s to the “woke” generation, Murray’s to the Trumpian/Brexit anti-woke masses. The ‘woke’ term emanated in the United States to help give expression to those who were historically marginalised and enslaved.

However, both authors have one essential thing in common. Continue reading

Professor Gerald Horne Endorses “Debunking the Myth of America’s Poodle”

The prolific Professor Gerald Horne who holds the “Moores Professorship of History and African American Studies” at the University of Houston and is the author of  ‘White Supremacy Confronted:  U.S. Imperialism and Anticommunism vs. the Liberation of Southern Africa, from Rhodes to Mandela‘ has this to about “Debunking the Myth of America’s Poodle”:

“This illuminating, scalding and scorching takedown of British Imperialism is simultaneously a cautionary reminder that post-Brexit London should be pressured relentlessly in order to avoid a replication of its multiple sins and transgressions of the recent past.”

The book can be purchased by clicking here.

Looting Arabia: Decolonising Dr. David Wearing’s “AngloArabia: Why Gulf Wealth Matters to Britain”

Excuse the pun, but I was weary about reading David Wearing’s “AngloArabia: Why Gulf Wealth Matters to Britain”. This weariness was born out of the way he is positively referenced on social media by a new peculiar breed of intellectual that has recently emerged in British academia.  This peculiarity is defined by the Edward Said-quoting intellectual in question being sympathetic towards past anti-imperialist revolts, resistance and revolutionaries yet mysteriously silent on, manufacture consent for and even endorse contemporary British imperialist interventions such as in Libya or Syria. I’m thinking of an intellectual such as Professor Priyamvada Gopal and, I’m sure there are many others who morally juggle this perverse dichotomy, that is making a living researching past struggles against the Empire yet at the same time are at the very least silent on contemporary Western military interventions in the Global South. Indeed, Wearing informs the reader in the ‘Acknowledgements’ that Professor Gibert Achcar (who was in favour of the Libyan intervention) is “an invaluable mentor and a formative intellectual influence.”

AngloArabia” is an examination of the relationship between the British state and the Gulf Arab States that make up the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) in the post Cold War era. However, the first chapter, “Empire’s Legacy” which aims to provide a historical account of how the Arab tribes that came to rule the Gulf from the nineteenth century leading up to the Cold War, confirmed my expectations. First of all, Wearing claims that “by the end of the nineteenth century, the Gulf was firmly under British control, with the British resident (London’s chief regional diplomat) able to call in naval support…under the overall command of the Bombay government.”[i] This is very confusing and tells us nothing about the role of the “resident” and what his role was. The ‘resident’ was not an innocuous role, post or title. Far from it. The “resident” was a central figure of the imperial ruling system called “Indirect Rule” the British Empire conclusively established after the Indian uprising of 1857 was finally crushed. After this revolt, the Empire concluded that going forward it would be best to govern India through regional puppets with a British resident in the background pulling the strings and calling the shots. One of the reasons for this strategy is if there were upheavals then any popular ire will be aimed at the puppet rather than the Empire. The nineteenth century Gulf rulers answered to the Resident in Bushire (which is in Iran) who was directly appointed and accountable to the British Empire in India. It was this Resident in Bushire more than anyone else who established the rulers in the Gulf.[ii]   Continue reading

Clive Ponting on the Myth of Dunkirk

The film Dunkirk directed by Christopher Nolan, has raked in almost $500 million dollars. One of the sub-plots of the film, that is the sea aspect of it, shows an everyday ‘Joe’ played by Mark Rylance, courageously sailing the English Channel to rescue the retreated and stranded Tommy holed up on the coast of Dunkirk. But as the British historian Clive Ponting conclusively tells us in his book, 1940: Myth and Reality, this was very much a propagandistic interpretation what actually happened:

“One of the myths of Dunkirk is that the troops were evacuated from the beaches by an armada of small boats manned by volunteers from all over England. Continue reading

A Note on the Geopolitics of South Yemeni Separatism.

Now in its third year, the British co-ordinated Saudi Arabian led war on Yemen shows no sign of abating. Thousands of people have been indiscriminately killed and the northern part of Yemen is literally laid to waste as British made weaponry is tested on Yemenis. Last year there were reports of famines and now there are reports of hundreds of thousands of cases of cholera. The country which was already one of the poorest in the world is now further pulverised, impoverished and devastated.

The Saudis have been enthusiastically supported, primarily by the British establishment, from the very beginning of this attack on Yemen. Surreally and cruelly, one of the richest countries in the world is bombing the poorest country in the peninsula.

One of the most daunting aspects of the Saudi-British war on Yemen is the support it has received from most of the population of South Yemen. By South Yemen I mean the area that was formally known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. This support compels one to ask why have Southerners welcomed the Saudi-British led military campaign? Continue reading