An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire

Arundhati Roy, Author
Arundhati Roy, Author South End Press $40 (156p) ISBN 978-0-89608-728-6
Reviewed on: 09/01/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Paperback - 156 pages - 978-0-89608-727-9
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-00-718163-6
Hardcover - 424 pages - 978-0-14-400160-6
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Those who fear the dry and impenetrable prose of many political essays need have no such reservations with this selection. Indian author Roy (The God of Small Things) brings a novelistic readability and immediacy to her impassioned critiques of imperialism, the corporate media and their""neo-liberal project""--what she describes as""the medium of those who have power and money."" Her unequivocally critical look at the Bush administration's policy in Iraq will likely lead American readers to label her as either brilliantly astute or strongly anti-American. Still, she carefully differentiates between governments and their people. In""Instant Mix Imperial Democracy,"" she congratulates Americans for standing up to their government:""Hundreds of thousands of you have survived the relentless propaganda you have been subjected to, and are actively fighting your own government. In the ultra-patriotic climate that prevails in the United States, that's as brave as any Iraqi or Afghan or Palestinian fighting for his or her Homeland."" In the same talk, Roy delivers a scathing critique of the current state of democracy:""The project of corporate globalization has cracked the code of democracy. Free elections, a free press and an independent judiciary mean little when the free market has reduced them to commodities on sale to the highest bidder."" In addition to observing problems; Roy suggests non-violent solutions--boycotts, protests and open discussion. Regardless of whether one agrees with her ideas, Roy crafts articulate and convincing arguments that deserve their place in any debate on globalization, democracy or Iraq.
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