A decade after the 9/11 attacks, this groundbreaking book takes readers deep into rebellions against both autocrats and extremists that are redefining politics, culture, and security threats across the Islamic world. The awakening involves hundreds of millions of people. And the political transformations— and tectonic changes—are only beginning.
Robin Wright, an acclaimed foreign correspondent and television commentator, has covered the region for four decades. She witnessed the full cycle, from extremism’s angry birth and globalization to the rise of new movements transforming the last bloc of countries to hold out against democracy. Now, in Rock the Casbah, she chronicles the new order being shaped by youthinspired revolts toppling leaders, clerics repudiating al Qaeda, playwrights and poets crafting messages of a counter-jihad, comedians ridiculing militancy, hip-hop rapping against guns and bombs, and women mobilizing for their own rights.
This new counter-jihad has many goals. For some, it’s about reforming the faith. For others, it’s about reforming political systems. For most, it’s about achieving basic rights. The common denominator is the rejection of venomous ideologies and suicide bombs, plane hijackings, hostage-takings, and mass violence to achieve those ends.
Wright captures a stunning moment in history, one of the region’s four key junctures—along with Iran’s revolution, Israel’s creation, and the Ottoman Empire’s collapse—in a century. The notion of a clash of civilizations is increasingly being replaced by a commonality of civilizations in the twenty-first century. But she candidly details both the possibilities and pitfalls ahead. The new counter-jihad is imaginative and defiant, but Muslim societies are also politically inexperienced and economically challenged.
Robin Wright is the Chief Diplomatic Correspondent for the L.A. Times's Washington bureau.
Wright is both an extraordinary, seasoned journalist and a highly respected Middle East scholar who lived throughout that region for five years. She has reported from more than 130 countries as a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, CBS News, The Washington Post, The Sunday Times of London, and the Christian Science Monitor. She has also written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Affairs, Civilization, Current History, The Middle East Journal, The New York Times, and the Guardian.
Wright is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant and the 1989 National Magazine Award for her reportage from Iran in the The New Yorker. She also won the Overseas Press Club Award for "best reporting in any medium requiring exceptional courage and initiative" for the Angolan war.
Wright was a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Poynter fellow at Yale, a senior fellow at Duke, a Media Fellow at Stanford, and a Regents Fellow at UC Santa Barbara.
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