On Becoming Alijah

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dc.contributor.author Gordon, Alijah
dc.date.accessioned 2017-05-17T18:51:01Z
dc.date.available 2017-05-17T18:51:01Z
dc.date.copyright 2003 en_US
dc.date.issued 2003
dc.identifier.citation Gordon, A. (2003). On Becoming Alijah. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Alijah Gordon. en_US
dc.identifier.isbn 983-99866-6-X
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/8126
dc.description.abstract ‘U Ba Swe then ‘logically’ asked “what a blonde-haired girl has to do with this problem”. It was a question that would haunt me through all my life: Why? It is not your bangsa – not your race – not your problem. The time of insan, the truly human being, is not upon us.’ Thus reads Alijah Gordon’s account of her meeting with the Burmese leader U Ba Swe in India in 1956, during the Asian Socialist Conference that was held in Bombay. In this, the first part of her autobiography, the scholar, historian, activist and writer Alijah Gordon traces her footsteps across several continents – from North America to the Arab World, to South Asia and finally Southeast Asia – as she sought to ‘crack (her) head on the reality of the people rather than intellectualize on Socialism and revolution. With only a hundred dollars in her pocket the idealistic (though never quiet) American student from Columbia University embarked on a journey that would eventually consume her entire life and work, bringing her into contact with some of the greatest figures of the post-war and post-colonial era. In Alijah’s narrative we encounter the luminaries of Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, India and Burma: men and women like the Egyptian historian Mohamed Shafik Ghorbal, Wing Commander ‘Ali Sabri – personal advisor to none other than Gamal Abdel Nasser himself – the Zimbabwean nationalist M. Sipalo, the Kenyan leader Joseph Murumbi, the Burmese leaders U Nu and U Ba Swe, the memorable U Thant who ‘lives on’ in her memory, as well as a host of characters ranging from the intellectual-activists of the Algerian resistance movement, Ba’ath party of Syria and the Ikhwan al-Muslimin (Muslim Brotherhood) of Egypt down to the ordinary Palestinian peasant who braved the barbed wire and snipers of the Israeli army to serve a cup of coffee to a passer-by, for ‘without their culture, their adab, their politeness, where would they be? Beautifully written, and backed up with a plethora of footnotes and historical references, it is an example of living history captured in narrative form which is increasingly rare these days. A work that would resonate with other like-minded insans who think of the world as their home and the lot of humanity as their own. Dr. Farish A. Noor, Center for Modern Orient Studies, Berlin, Germany en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Alijah Gordon en_US
dc.title On Becoming Alijah en_US
dc.type Book en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Faculty en_US
dc.description.reviewstatus Unreviewed en_US

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