What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East

What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East

9780863566240 August 2009 Paperback 384pp

About the Book

The problems in the Middle East run deeper than dictatorship. Inspired by the popular uprisings that overthrew the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt, Arabs across the Middle East are demanding change. But achieving real freedom will involve more than the removal of a few dictators.

Looking beyond the turmoil reported on our TV screens, Guardian journalist Brian Whitaker examines the ‘freedom deficit’ that affects Arabs in their daily lives: their struggles against corruption, discrimination and bureaucracy, and the stifling authoritarianism that pervades homes, schools and mosques as well as presidential palaces.

Drawing on a wealth of new research and wide-ranging interviews, Whitaker analyses the views of people living in the region and argues that in order to achieve peace, prosperity and full participation in today’s global economy, Arabs should embrace not only political change but far-reaching social and cultural change as well.

About the Author

Brian Whitaker was Middle East editor at the Guardian for seven years and then an editor for the newspaper’s 'Comment is Free' website. He is the author of What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East and Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East, which was shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Award in 2006. His website, www.al-bab.com, is devoted to Arab culture and politics.


‘A passionate attack on the corrosive effects of inequality’
New Statesman

'A passionate call for political and social change in Arab countries.'
Jeremy Bowen

‘Should be required reading by Arab elites from the Atlantic to the Gulf’
Patrick Seale, Al Hayat

‘A lively, highly readable and illuminating survey of the countless things that are wrong with the Middle East today’
Avi Shlaim, Guardian

‘A call to arms for Arab citizens’
International Affairs