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Adam Curtis’ capture of middle-eastern history of past 50 years. Post second world war

March 22, 2015

It’s all about oil, and it’s ever been all about oil… the sad story of how Afghanistan failed to ‘modernize’ itself like Saudi Arabia managed…I wonder when you meet with these kind of facts of history, how much of the blame really falls on religion e.g. you won’t blame religion for holding Afghanistan back, after seeing this documentary.

And at the same time good ideas e.g. liberalism*, look like child’s play, and always good as an after-the-event-justification of western societies, ignoring the ugly facts of history, for e.g. what happened to natives in US and Australia when the migrants with ‘guns, germs and steel’ came…history has ever been about powerful getting what they want…

* On Liberalism – I of course love the idea, and believe its valuable. Perhaps it had a role to play, in these societies evolving in relatively peaceful times..but confronted with the stark history, the question becomes can these tools be used to bring about change in say Afghanistan or Africa? Or the historical violent cycles will get repeated for some major change to occur, before they can have a role? Pl. note: not at all advocating it, just asking a cynical question.

And for a moment contrast this stark historical realities, with a picture painted by say a Tarek Fatah, if we can call him a liberal that is, with all his love for Canadian values[1]. Seems like he is just skimming at the surface, historically speaking.

On that note. I almost feel sad for Baathism reading this one on Syria by Adam Curtis –…/a…/posts/the_baby_and_the_baath_water . As that was clearly a modernizing force in Iraq and Syria. Adam Curtis is a great journalist. I discovered him only recently via HN. But another thing to note is that how the Baathist idealist Assad became a despot, and conspired to kill even his colleagues. Do you see echos of this in some recent happenings, close by? (of course not on the same scale and not as gruesome thankfully)

[1] –


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