Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World
Robin Wright, Author and Journalist
NY Event | Photos | Transcript

alt Washington, DC—On October 5, 2011, journalist and author Robin Wright discussed her book Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World, at the home of WFPG Board Member Diana Villiers Negroponte. Wright has covered the Middle East region for the past four decades and has witnessed extremism, globalization and the rise of new movements in the area. Over the past two years, Wright traveled around the Muslim world and discovered a variety of political and cultural forces that have influenced the changes in the region.

Robin Wright explained that a monumental change has occurred in the Middle East in the decade after 9/11. Wright categorizes this change as a counter-jihad, describing it as a moment that embraces a lot of different things. Wright attributes the counter-jihad to three major phenomena: the challenge of the status quo, the rejection of violence as a tactic, and the rejection of Islamist ideologies. According to Wright, people are challenging the old regime due to the increased population of young people, higher literacy rates, especially among women, the emergence of new technology and Muslims rejection of terrorist organizations.

While Wright spent a great deal of time focusing on the political factors that have contributed to the counter-jihad, she is also immensely interested in the culture of the region. Wright admitted that her favorite part of the book is the stories from the young artists, comedians, and writers who assisted in the uprisings. Her favorite cultural phenomenon is the use of comedy by Muslims, as means to protest extremism.

The evening ended with an in-depth Q&A session which focused on the future of these countries after the uprisings. Wright noted that the most important event in the coming months will be the writing of the constitution in Egypt. While the countries of the Arab Spring have overwhelming challenges ahead with high unemployment and limited resources, Wright posits that Libya may have the best future. She declared herself as the ultimate pessimist, saying "I'm the one who says not is the glass half full or glass half empty, I'm the one who says is there really any water in the glass at all? For the first time I've kind of thought—Oh Gosh, something good is happening."


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 Author Robin Wright with WFPG President Patricia Ellis
and Board Member and host Diana Negroponte

   Author Robin Wright addresses WFPG guests

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 Diana Negroponte welcomes WFPG members and guests

   WFPG Board Members Mary Catherine Toker and Gail Leftwich Kitch with Hassan Dossel

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Robin Wright and WFPG Board Members Ann McLaughlin Korologos and Mary Catherine Toker

   Board members and guests listen to Robin Wright

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