Paying Homage: Literary Inspiration

The Mess They Made: The Middle East After IraqIts easy to be inspired and awed by heroes who flash across a movie screen, brave characters in a classic (or not so classic) novel, or real-life heros who accomplish something so extraordinary there is no doubt they will be immortalized in history. Its not so easy to weave one’s way through the crushing number of political books, papers, reports, opinions, e-zines, blogs and others such media to find a voice that really speaks to you; a voice that makes sense, a voice that upholds your own values with it, a voice that takes you beyond your own reasoning and brings you more to contemplate. After all, I truly believe that all opinion, to be valid, has to be balanced by fact and true understanding – not just understanding what you want to believe.

Muddling through politics has been a hard go for me. In general, I find it extremely uninteresting. However, I realized in order for me to understand world events, I needed to have a keener grasp on politics. After all, it is, usually the reason (obvious or not so obvious) to why things were happening, or not happening in the world. But, oh, the books are so dry – rattling on about dates, listing every barely known person involved in any situation, and confusing analysis that can only be understood by political junkies. Okay, I admit, names, date, etc. are important, but don’t push them at me like a wall, let me digest them in a greater context, a human context.

I am delighted to inform you that I did find just such a writer – Dr. Gwynne Dyer. Dr. Dyer is a Canadian historian who works as a London-based “journalist, broadcaster, and lecturer on international affairs” (Gwynne Dyer) and has published nine books. He has been writing on the Arab-Israeli conflict for more than 30 years and I very much respect his opinion on the matter. One of his books, The Mess They Made: The Middle East After Iraq, was the first book I had read of his. It made many compelling arguments (I will talk more about this book in a later post). He has just published a book called Climate Wars which discusses how climate change will affect world politics and war.

His writing is very straightforward with a dash of dry humour and a lot of irony. He writes as though he’s speaking to you over a coffee or a beer. The people about who he writes are more like characters in a novel rather than just names – he gives them a depth of character – which is difficult especially with some political leaders. If you would like a taste of his writing, he has his recent articles on his website. Two which I have read recently that I found very interesting were Battlefield Gaza and Israeli Tail, American Dog. I warn you, however, his writing is not for the faint of heart. You have to be prepared to take off the blinders and to look at the true state of the world.

Have you been inspired by anyone lately who you feel needs special mention?


2 thoughts on “Paying Homage: Literary Inspiration

  1. Thank you for recommending this very interesting journalist. I abhor politics and politicians with a vengeance. Yet, like a bad tasting medicine we need a small dose every once in a while.
    Dyer’s work is strawberry flavored yet potent as far as its value and worth are concerned.
    Again, many thanks and yes I’ve been inspired by the books of Amin Maalouf. For the last 3 months I have been reading nothing but him. He originally writes in French but all of his books are translated to English as well.
    Take your pick and give him a try. My personal favorite Samarkand. I would love to read your review of this great piece of literature/history/art.


    1. Strawberry flavoured, eh, Abu Fares? Well, apparently its not sweet enough for Canadian newspapers as his articles are not available in any mainstream newspapers here. Anyway, I shall put Samarkand on my reading list. Thank you so much for your comment and recommendation!


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