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 worlds 'liberation generation through the 'defeated' and 'lost generations', arriving at todays '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.
Christopher Dickey, Newsweek/TheDailyBeast
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.”
“A keen, journalistic look at the making of the Arab Spring and its ramifications.”
“[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.”
“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.”
“An engaging new book…[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.”
Newsweek / Daily Beast
“Avoiding the pitfall of seeing the revolution in isolation, Bishara elegantly charts how the potent forces of national-ism, Islamism, and Western intervention all mixed to create last year’s revolutions.”
ID: International Dialogue, A Multidisciplinary Journal of World Affairs“[The Invisible Arab] is a must-read for students and scholars of the Middle East and the Arab world….The book does an excellent job of documenting the efforts at change, and suggesting how change might ultimately occur.” Wisconsin State Journal“There have been few events as consequential in recent history as the Arab Spring, and if one wants to understand its genesis, one should read this book. Engaging in a regionwide analysis with a concentration on Egypt and Tunisia, Bishara brings out little-known aspects of the tremors that have been felt around the world…. Bishara presents a clear-eyed assessment of the dictatorships that have blighted the Arab landscape.” Foreign Policy in Focus “Bishara tears down the Western media’s narrative of the Arab revolutions….[The Invisible Arab] helps make all that was invisible to the Western eye about the Arab Spring visible.” London School of Economics Review of Books“The Invisible Arab is a small book that pulls a lot of punches….Bishara’s analysis is thoughtful and detailed.” Foreign Affairs“[I]nformed and engaging…” Thinking Fits (blog)“Marwan Bishara’s The Invisible Arab… sings like a canary…. The Invisible Arab is at its most resonant when reconstructing the building blocs of Arab misery that pinned down much of the 20th century.” Library Journal, Starred Review“Remarkably informative and thorough.” Publisher’s Weekly“Bishara…provides a compelling and spirited history of the modern Arab nation, from colonial liberation to the recent revolutions….Fast-paced, impassioned, and eloquent.” Mason County News, Texas“[The Invisible Arab] is a brilliant analysis on how the Arabs broke their own psychological barrier of fear to kindle one of the first significant revolutionary transformations of the twenty-first century.” Tucson Citizen“This is a rich exploration of the history of the contemporary Arab world from the colonial period through the present period of liberation.”
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.