Posted by: hevallo | July 10, 2007

Abdullah Ocalan’s prison writings reviewed.

(Click the book to order)

Abdullah Ocalan has produced a brilliant theoretical study of the origins and development of civilisation which should be essential reading for all historians interested in a scientific approach to our knowledge of the past. It is a fascinating work which is likely to be of permanent interest. The final conclusion that democratisation, not Islamic fundamentalism or the armed struggle (apart from self-defence), is the way forward in the Middle East and elsewhere is not the message one would expect to receive from the leader of a group that conducted a guerrilla struggle in Turkey for nearly a generation.
Left-wing socialists and all who oppose imperialist attempts to dominate the world should consider very carefully the arguments which he advances to justify this thesis.
As for the Kurds, he suggests that being divided between several nations (i.e. Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria) gives them a key advantage in contributing to change in the Middle East by democratising themselves.
‘No longer will the fate of the Kurds be ignorance, war, rebellion and destruction but a democratic and developed civil society and unity in freedom,’ he declares. [p. 297]
Ocalan’s treatise is based upon a profound study of the history of the ancient Middle East and the world in general. During the First World War a Belgian historian, Henri Pirenne, wrote a History of Europe to 1550 without access to sources, while he was interned by the German authorities. Ocalan’s achievement in prison conditions, with limited access to books, calls this to mind, although he does provide a bibliography and, presumably, consulted the items listed.
Abdullah Ocalan has written an extremely important book which everyone concerned with the politics of the Middle East, the Kurdish question, ancient history or socialist ideas should read and digest. Whatever the view taken of his previous stance as a guerrilla leader, his erudite and thought-provoking thesis is of outstanding interest and I recommend it without reservation.”Stan Newans. Please read full review here.

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