Time for books
Nowadays, I have a made a return to the 1990s and instead of reading electronic books, I have returned to the conventional world.
Winter is setting in and people will probably have more time to read books. Thus, I decided to talk about four books, one of which is still being edited.
It all started out of convenience. Last summer, aware from past experiences that access to internet on cruise trips was either very difficult or extraordinarily expensive, I downloaded some 10 editions of an international news magazine, which for some reason I could not read on my iPad. Going around, stopping every morning at a different Italian, Spanish or French city was great. But even if the cruise ship was gigantic and it would take hours to tour around, there was more than enough time for entertainment. Soon, the electronic reading-listening items ran out, and I had to make a return to conventional reading by borrowing a copy of the “God is not great” book of Christopher Hitchens.
That was my second encounter with the “God is not great” book of Hitchens. Some 10 years ago I read it first and did not like its presentation of atheism. All the troubles we have gone through because of Jihadism, Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and political Islam of all sorts made me embrace Hitchens’ book this time as a masterpiece vividly explaining that religious extremism of all sorts, and definitely not limited to Islam, have been headache for humanity for so long.
Criticism helps enlightenment. Without criticism, free speech and the instinct to learn what’s going on around, there would be no journalism. But besides that, could there be human progress further than the exit of a prehistoric cave? The Christian world for centuries paid a very heavy price for secularism, free speech and unorthodox thinking. The Muslim world, unfortunately, remains to be maintaining the radical interpretation of the religion and worse, political exploitation of Islam by politicians, semi-God sheikhs, leaders and sultans whose very existence as such not only contradicts but indeed is a curse on Islam.
“The Great Theft” by Egyptian writer Khaled Abou el Fadl was given to me as a gift from a Western diplomatic friend, who also obtained it as a gift in 2007 from an Indian rich businessman friend named Yousuf. Thus, a book written by an Egyptian Abou el Fadl, bought by an Indian Yousuf and presented to a Dutch have landed in the hands of Turkish Yusuf in 2017. The book explains vividly how Islam was held hostage by political Islam and Jihadists not of today but back at the very early times of Islamic history.
How many of us remember today that of the four caliphs that succeeded Prophet Mohammad, only one of them died of natural causes, while three of them were murdered in cold blood by political Islamist forefathers of today’s Salafists, Wahhabis or the Muslim Brotherhood?
Radicalism in Islam or Islamic fundamentalism was presented so clearly in “The Great Theft” of Abou el Fadl that how he escaped the fate of British Indian novelist and essayist Ahmed Salman Rushdie. Rushdie has been leading a security-obsessed life since a 1989 death fatwa issued against him by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini over allegations that he defamed Islam’s Prophet Mohammad in his “Satanic Verses” published that year.
If I am to move from the whole to worldly issues, I would advise readers to read “The Euro” of David Marsh. How the Western world of monetary issues was shaped? Why the dollar dominates international trade and why the euro indeed reflects a new battle for new global currency? Even with some knowledge of current global developments, the battle for energy, energy beds and energy lines, “The
Euro” of Marsh gives a far deeper insight.
Last but not least is a book yet to be published. For the past three months or so I have been trying to help out a dear friend, Professor Kormaz Alemdar, for the second edition of a book on the yesterday, today and tomorrow of mass communication in Turkey. We are now putting the final touches to the 1296-page book, which because of budgetary constraints will unfortunately be published by the Journalists Association only in Turkish.
The book brings together 95 articles written by 48 writers, mostly professors of communication and political sciences. Three journalists, including myself, are among its writers.