Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples By V.S. Naipaul (Random House, 408 pp. $27.95) Some years ago, in Finding the Centre, V.S. Naipaul wrote of the impulse that sent him on the road to remote places.
Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama (Knopf, 652 pp., $40) We rush across the gleaming surface of the ocean, moving rapidly but smoothly above the untroubled beauty of the dark waters. Jagged cliffs and wild surf, rugged hills and lush grass pass beneath us. Music plays. Finally we reach our destination, where the action begins. It may be a prison from which a psychopathic bomber prepares to break out, or a clearing where poor Scottish farmers will discover the hanged bodies of their chiefs, or a village where women will be impregnated by aliens.
Sappho: A Garland The Poems and Fragments of Sappho Translated by Jim Powell (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 65 pp., $15) The Laughter of Aphrodite: A Novel about Sappho of Lesbos By Peter Green (University of California Press, 274 pp., $22) The "garland" of Jim Powell's felicitous translation of Sappho is a tattered remnant. It might well have been subtitled The Poem and Fragments of Sappho, for there is only one poem in the book that we can be reasonably sure is complete, the playful summons to Aphrodite that stands at its head. There is one other poem—the famous description of the physical
It is now a little more than half a century ago that George Antonius (an Alexandria-born Greek Orthodox writer of Palestinian background) published his manifesto, The Arab Awakening. All the grand themes of Arab nationalism were foreshadowed in Antonius's work: the "secularism" of the Arab nationalist movement, the primacy of the PanArab movement over "smaller" loyalties, the fragmentation of that movement at the hands of the colonial powers, and the presumed centrality of the Palestinian question to the entire Arab world. Antonius wrote with an Anglo-American audience in mind.
The reason for Moscow's receding influence is disarmingly simple: Marx and mosque are incompatible. —John Kifner, the New York Times, September 14, 1980 We are fated, as the old Chinese chestnut has it, to live in interesting times, and never more so than in the last 18 months, which have been witness to one of the most resounding collapses of foreign policy to have occurred in modern history.
Orwell said it about saints, but Nobel peace laureates also should always be judged guilty until they are proven innocent. No doubt it would have appeared more seemly had the authorities in Oslo waited to bestow their decorations till a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt actually had been signed. In any case it is evident, at least in the cases of Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, that the Nobel Peace Prize is not awarded on the basis of either character or personal history. The two have been honored for their last act, and an uncompleted one at that.
It has begun to occur to our leaders, at last, that the Western nations are helping to finance the international terrorism of which they are the victims. Recent steps by the Carter administration, prodded by Congress, to use America’s economic muscle in the battle against terrorism are long overdue. Several anti-terrorism bills have been introduced in Congress in recent years. One—the Omnibus Anti-Terrorist Act, sponsored by Senator Abraham Ribicoff—has been winding its way through Congress and is likely to become law.
During his US tour last spring Leonid Brezhnev heralded a fresh era in Soviet-American friendship as he embraced Wall Street bankers, hugged Hollywood actors and flattered Richard Nixon. Now, by encouraging and aiding the Arabs against Israel and thereby raising the spectre of renewed superpower confrontation, the Russians have moved from grins to grimaces. Their turnabout, it seems to me, can be explained in a single word—priorities.
This article was originally published on January 26th, 1963. President Nasser's armed intervention in Yemen is the most ambitious and dangerous foreign adventure of his career. It has brought him to the brink of war with Saudi Arabia and Jordan and provides American diplomacy in the Middle East with possibly its greatest challenge since Suez. By recognizing, in December, the republican regime of Marshal Sallal--Nasser's protege in Yemen--the United States has clashed with her British ally and has taken sides in the inter-Arab struggle for power.