Jul 18 2006

Eqbal Ahmad on Israeli 1982 Invasion of Lebanon

Eqbal AhmedGUEST: Eqbal Ahmad, prolific writer, intellectual, thinker.

In June 1982, Israeli forces attacked southern Lebanon apparently in retaliation for an assassination attempt against the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Shlomo Argov and artillery attacks launched by the Palestine Liberation Organization. Operation Peace for Galilee would become the longest and most controversial military action in Israel’s history. Today we are seeing another Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which many are observing is even more devastating than 1982.

Weeks after the 1982 invasion began, a teach-in on the Middle East was held at a town hall in New York City. That teach-in featured Eqbal Ahmed on the Israeli agression in Lebanon. Preserved over the years with your donations, and played for the first time since August 1982, we present an excerpt today of Eqbal Ahmed’s speech.

Eqbal Ahmad was born in Bihar, India in 1933. After the 1947 Indian partition he migrated to Pakistan. From 1960 to 1963, Ahmad lived in North Africa, working primarily in Algeria, where he joined the National Liberation Front and worked with Frantz Fanon. He was a member of the Algerian delegation to peace talks at Evian. When he returned to the United States, Ahmad taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Cornell University. It was during these years, that he became known as “one of the earliest and most vocal opponents of American policies in Vietnam and Cambodia”. In 1971, Ahmad was indicted with the anti-war Catholic priests, Daniel and Phillip Berrigan, along with four other Catholic pacifists, on charges of conspiracy to kidnap Henry Kissinger.

A prolific writer and journalist, Eqbal Ahmad was widely consulted by revolutionaries, journalists, activist leaders and policymakers around the world. He was an editor of the journal Race and Class, contributing editor of Middle East Report and L’Economiste du Tiers Monde, co-founder of Pakistan Forum, and an editorial board member of Arab Studies Quarterly. According to Edward Said, Eqbal Ahmad was “that rare thing, an intellectual unintimidated by power or authority, a companion in arms to such diverse figures as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, Richard Falk, Fred Jameson, Alexander Cockburn and Daniel Berrigan.”

After retiring in 1997, he settled permanently in Pakistan, where he continued to write a weekly column, for Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest English language newspaper. Eqbal died in Islamabad on May 11, 1999, of heart failure following surgery for colon cancer, diagnosed just one week before.

Special thanks to Edgar Toledo from the Pacifica Radio Archives.

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Eqbal Ahmad on Israeli 1982 Invasion of Lebanon”

  1. Milton Branfordon 25 Jul 2006 at 11:30 am

    Is there a book or any paper or papers written by Mr. Ahmad that is available in book stores at this time.
    Please give titles.

    Thank you.

  2. adminon 26 Jul 2006 at 6:16 am

    I would recommend “Terrorism: Theirs and Ours,” by Eqbal Ahmad and David Barsamian and “The Selected Writings of Eqbal Ahmad.”

  3. edwardon 29 Jul 2006 at 5:12 pm

    Eqbal Ahmed: Confronting Empire


  4. hasanon 11 Aug 2006 at 5:18 pm

    I would recommend ” The Selected writings of Eqbal Ahmad”


  5. Pangaeaon 15 Aug 2006 at 2:50 pm

    Great speech. It pretty much is right on the money today as well.

  6. Donaldon 21 Aug 2006 at 4:37 pm

    Columbia University Press has just published (August 2006)The Selected Writings of Eqbal Ahmad

    Eqbal Ahmad; edited by Carollee Bengelsdorf, Margaret Cerullo, and Yogesh Chandrani
    Foreword by Noam Chomsky

    A number of his essays are available on the web through http://www.bitsonline.net/eqbal/articles_by_category.asp

  7. hammad razaon 30 Dec 2006 at 2:54 am

    thats really remarkable and deep insight by a great humantarian and internationalist. but its bad that he is not present when we oppressed people needed him most at this crucial juncture of our collective lives. I would like to recommend betweem past and future for reading. May GOD bless him and place him in high esteem for his services which he rendered for the world at large without any discrimination.

  8. waqas bin tariqon 31 Dec 2006 at 5:00 am

    i,m a pakistani and would like to say that Mr Ahmaed is even relevant today like anything but pitty is the military junta in his country does not want to do anything with the person like him and thus does not project him as he deserves lest his ideas and his achievements be known to his young countrymen like me ,as it can only inspire and motiovate one towards justice and progress.

  9. Hammad Razaon 06 Jan 2007 at 12:40 am

    The more we listen to him, the more we read his discerning, insightful, and thought provoking articles and interviews,we learn more and more… His writings strictly commited with moral princles and uncomprimising rationales… ALAS! He is not here…. But his writings will inspire us for a long time to come. I recently came through a remarkable book named CONFRONTING EMPIRE, an interview of Great Eqbal Ahmed, conducted by David Barasmian. Do read this book for having a resourseful and analytical revision of major international issues confronted by Third world peoples.

  10. Zayd Abdullahon 21 Oct 2008 at 7:03 pm

    thanks for keeping his memory alive!
    the links to audio don’t seem to work,,, is there a problem at your end?

  11. Jamalon 07 Jan 2010 at 6:14 am

    Unfortunately this link is not working now. Please fix it. We’ll be obliged.


  12. Jamalon 23 Jul 2012 at 4:23 am

    The speech can not be heard. Please fix it!!!