Synopses & Reviews
The Invisible Arab
traces the roots of the revolutions in the Arab world. Marwan Bishara, chief policy analyst of Al Jazeera English and the anchor of the program Empire
, combines on-the-ground reporting, extensive research and scholarship, and political commentary in this book on the complex influences that made the revolutions possible. Bishara argues that the inclusive, pluralistic nationalism that motivated the revolutions are indispensable to their long-term success.
The Invisible Arab is a voyage in time from the Arab world's "liberation generation" through the "defeated" and "lost generations," arriving at today's "miracle generation." Bishara unpacks how this new generation, long seen as a demographic bomb, has proved to be the agent of progress, unity and freedom. It has in turn used social networks to mobilize for social justice.
Bishara discusses how Israel, oil, terrorism and radical Islam have affected the interior identity of the region as well as Western projections upon it. Protection of Israel, Western imperial ambition, a thirst for oil, and fear of radicalism have caused many Western regimes and media to characterize Arab countries and people as unreceptive to democracy or progress. These ideas are as one-dimensional as they are foolhardy. Bishara argues that the Arab revolutions present a great window of opportunity for reinventing and improving Arab ties with the rest of the world — notably the West — on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interest.
The revolutions will be judged by how they realize freedom and justice, and how they can pave the way for reconciling and accommodating nationalism and Islam with democracy. Bishara argues that these pillars — liberty and justice reconciled with religion and nationalism, form the bedrock that will allow stability and progress to flourish in the Arab world and beyond.
"Bishara, chief policy analyst for Al-Jazeera, provides a compelling and spirited history of the modern Arab nation, from colonial liberation to the recent revolutions. Painting an image of a past tainted by militaries that did not fulfill their anticipated goals, dictators that ruled through fear, and exploitation by more powerful nations, Bishara devotes most of his attention to the new youth movement: 'eople, especially the younger generation, couldn't see why they had a choice among...television sets, but not textbooks; news networks, but not political leaders.' Despite the significant changes brought about by the revolutions that swept through Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and Syria, Bishara does not see an easy road ahead; he advises emphasis needs to be placed on protecting the future as opposed to punishing for the past noting that this will involve a reassessment of international relationships: 'No longer will rogue regimes be defined according to their proximity to Western powers.' Bishara (Palestine/Israel: Peace or Apartheid) concludes with a gentle warning that the unrest that set the stage for the Arab Spring is showing signs around the world, with the same root causes: unemployment, inequality, and corruption. Fast-paced, impassioned, and eloquent, Bishara's newest will interest activists, politicians, and others concerned with foreign affairs and current events. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Marwan Bishara's The Invisible Arab is the single most perceptive and accessible book I've read about the roots of revolt in the Middle East and the brave, chaotic, exciting and frightening new world they have begun to create." Christopher Dickey, Newsweek/TheDailyBeast
"A keen, journalistic look at the making of the Arab Spring and its ramifications." Kirkus Reviews
"[Bishara] delivers a sweeping, provocative and at times entertaining tale, revolution jokes and all....The Invisible Arab is an insightful and absorbing read for inquiring minds, and a valuable tool for students of the Middle East. As globally resonant events continue to unfold in the region, a sequel is clearly in order." Huffington Post
"[Bishara] brings a long perspective on the factors that have led to the Arab Spring and the challenges ahead as resisters take up the task of securing freedom and justice and reconciling the emerging sense of nationalism with democracy. Bishara captures the spirit and energy of the young resisters and the violent reactions in Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Syria." Booklist
"Marwan Bishara’s The Invisible Arab is a clear-headed and thought-provoking appraisal of the precarious but joyously hopeful place so many Arab nations find themselves after the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2010-2011. Bishara...is well-positioned to offer an intelligent appraisal of the forces that brought these revolutions to fragile birth, the political players involved and their capacity to retain power in a relatively benign fashion or succumb to the chaos and corruption that have plagued these nations in recent years....An engaging history of recent Arab revolutions, with a guardedly optimistic look at the future." Shelf Awareness
Marwan Bishara, the chief policy analyst for Al Jazeera English and presenter of the show Empire, looks at the roots of pro-democracy revolutions in the Arab world and offers an original analysis of what went right, why this moment is paramount, and how.
About the Author
Marwan Bishara is Al Jazeera English's senior political analyst and the editor and host of Empire, a program on the channel that examines global powers and their agendas. He was previously a professor of International Relations at the American University of Paris and a fellow at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes et Sciences Sociales. Bishara's writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, The Guardian, Le Monde and The Nation, among other outlets. He is also the chairman of The Galilee Foundation, a UK based charity that provides over one hundred students annually with university scholarships. He lives in Washington DC, Paris, and Dohar.