3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Note: Entry is open to all. You may confirm your participation through email or phone. The lecture can also be viewed online at http://www.sdpi.tv/live.php
About the Lecture:
Recently, protests spontaneously broke out in Istanbul which were largely motivated by defence of a protected environmental space against its privatization by the Turkish state. The resistance was quickly and rather irresponsibly characterized by both right and left either as a ‘Turkish Spring’ or as a conflict between secularism and political Islam, between modernity and backwardness, despite the fact that the events were motivated by economics and politics, with the background provided by a decade of neoliberal economic and adventurist foreign policies pursued by the Erdogan government.
The talk is an attempt to get to the roots of the revolt, based on the speaker’s visit to Turkey in the summer of 2012, and unique access to some of the activists currently spearheading the resistance in Istanbul. A very important question which will be explored in the talk is the history and agency of the Turkish left, their role in the current revolt and their ability to effect revolutionary change in Turkey, as well as the lessons of the so-called ‘Turkish model’ pioneered by Erdogan, for the Pakistani experience and the left in particular.
This is also a timely occasion to remember and celebrate the legacy of the great Turkish communist poet Nazim Hikmet, who passed away in exile 50 years ago on June 3. Readings from some of Hikmet’s poignant and relevant poems will also be shared. The speaker would also present the case of Iran, another powerful non-Arab state in the Middle East, where presidential elections are due on June 14, next week.
About the Speaker:
Raza Naeem is an Arabic-speaking social scientist, book critic and translator presently engaged as Research Fellow at the Graduate Institute of Development Studies at the Lahore School of Economics in Lahore. He is a long-time activist of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP). He has been trained in Political Economy from the University of Leeds in UK, and in Middle Eastern History and Anthropology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, US. He has travelled widely in Egypt, Yemen and Turkey over the years, interviewing a large number of activists in these countries.
He is presently working on a book on a political and cultural history of Yemen post-Arab Spring. He is a regular book critic and commentator for Frontline India, The Guardian UK, Monthly Newsline Karachi and Daily Times Lahore, and has been published in the United States, UK, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Yemen and South Africa.
Chair: Ambassador (Retd) Shafqat Kakakhel, Chairperson, SDPI Board of Governors, and Former UN Assistant Secretary General
- Mr Raza Naeem, Social Scientist and Literary Critic, Lahore
- Professor Dr Lubna Abid Ali, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad