October 26, 2012
Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, Ph.D., professor and chair of the UNE political science program, was interviewed by Jadaliyya, one of the most read on-line sites on the Arab Spring. In the interview, Ahmida discusses his new article in The Journal of the Middle East and Africa, titled "Libya, Social Origins of Dictatorship, and the Challenge for Democracy."
He explains that the "article was inspired by the democratic revolutionary uprising in the Arab World, especially Libya, the least known country. Also, I wanted to go beyond the orientalist and the colonial filtering and categories by bringing in the historical, comparative, and post-colonial context. For example, Libya’s colonial genocide under Italian Fascism is often ignored and is viewed through the category of tribalism, despite the fact the majority of the Libyan people live in urban areas, and it has the highest literacy rate in Africa. The New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and even the critical London Review of Books have published material on Libya conditioned by these conventional views. The category of tribalism is an easy and simplistic one, but ahistorical and misleading."
Ahmida is the author of The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonialization and Resistance, and several other books on Libya and North Africa. Find out more about Ahmida and read and listen to a number of his other recent interviews.