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What's Really Wrong with the Middle East
Western governments see the Middle East only in terms of its impact on the West. But how do people in the Middle East view their own countries, governments and institutions? Few would argue that the Middle East is thriving, but what do those living in the region identify as their greatest obstacles to peace, prosperity and full participation in today's global economy? Using his time as Middle East Editor for "The Guardian", as well as new research he has conducted for this book, Brian Whitaker analyses the views of Arabs living in the region and articulates the opportunities and challenges facing ordinary men and women.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'A passionate call for political and social change in Arab countries... and a stern critique of the status quo.' Jeremy Bowen BBC Middle East Editor One of the many merits of this book is that it tries, as far as possible, to let the Arabs provide the narrative. The narrative comes partly from Whitaker's encounters as a traveller interested in the Middle East and later as a journalist reporting for the Guardian newspaper; partly from written sources; and also from a series of lengthy interviews conducted especially for this book. Listening to the Arabs makes a refreshing change from the all too common habit of western pundits of pontificating about the Middle East and lecturing to the Arabs. Whitaker has given us a lively, highly readable and illuminating survey of the countless things that are wrong with the Middle East today. What emerges clearly from his survey is that the root problem, at least in the Arab world, is the lack of freedom. He concludes that in order to achieve peace, prosperity and full participation in the global economy, the Arabs should embrace far-reaching social, economic and political reform. Few would disagree with this conclusion but one has to be an incorrigible optimist to expect real change to take place in the foreseeable future. Avi Shalaim The Guardian Review 28th November 2009 'This is an interesting and informative book, and a passionate attack on the corrosive effects of inequality.' Sholto Byrnes, New Statesman (Should)be required reading by Arab elites from the Atlantic to the Gulf... This book will anger some and excite others. It is one of the most ambitious attempts in recent years by a western writer to analyse what is really wrong with the Middle East.' Patrick Seale, Al Hayat