Friday, March 31, 2006

The pen is mightier

Moazzam Begg has written a book. I read about it this morning in The Sunday Times Culture supplement of March 19, 2006 (I’m a little behind). The book is called Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantanamo and Back.

The book review mentions that Begg had been appearing on UK talk shows to promote his book. I began to wonder if he would be appearing on any US talk shows. That line of thought led me to wonder whether his book would even be available in the US, so I checked both amazon UK and amazon US in order to compare.

amazon UK. I searched books for “Begg”. As I expected, his book was at number one on the list of “most popular results for Begg”. The amazon price, by the way, is £11.38, while the book jacket price is £18.99.

amazon US – same approach to the search. I found books by several other authors with the surname Begg, but not Enemy Combatant. Then I noticed that above the books, amazon offered me “Related searches: enemy combatant; moazzam begg; guantanamo”. I clicked on each of the related search options in turn, and was offered only books that mention one or more of those terms. In short, what I found was that the book is not being offered on amazon US.

I understand that the book may not yet be released in the US, but amazon often lists books before they come out so that they can take advance orders.

So then I decided to search Barnes & Noble – nothing. I searched allbookstores.com – nothing. I searched the New York Times for any mention of the book – nothing. I will be very interested to see if and when Moazzam Begg’s book comes out in the US. If it does not appear in the very near future, I will be very disappointed indeed.

9 comments:

Anonymous A-Hole said...

I suppose it goes both ways.

Anonymous A-Hole said...

I wonder where the proceeds will be going.

Anonymous A-Hole said...

Poor, innocent, "school teacher" and "law student."

"Moazzam Begg had his first brush with the law in 1994 when he was arrested as he showed up for work at a benefits office at Small Heath, Birmingham. When Mr Begg's home was searched, detectives found the night-vision goggles and a bullet-proof vest as well as extremist Islamic literature.

Mr Begg was initially charged with conspiracy to defraud the Department of Social Security along with Butt. Bank statements found at Mr Begg's house linked him to Butt and officers found a photograph of the pair together in Afghanistan. At Butt's home they found a picture of him in Afghanistan brandishing an AK47 machinegun."

Anonymous A-Hole said...

Not to worry, though, charges against Mr. Begg, in '94,'00,'01, and '04, have all been dropped. I'm sure it's all just a misunderstanding. I'm sure he didn't mean to have "extremist Islamic literature" in the bookstore that he owned.

Max said...

Asshole, I am not saying whether the man is innocent or guilty of anything. I just happen to believe that a book about Guantanamo Bay that was written by a former prisoner should be available for sale in the US.

Those who don't like it can burn it, I suppose, along with all the other books they find distasteful and/or against their own politics.

Anonymous A-Hole said...

It's not so much that. I liken it to reading the books of the Iraqi defectors. It's interesting, their perspective of life under Saddam's rule, but, largely, it's a way for them to grind their axe and the content is often dubious.

The only difference, of course, is that proceeds from the books of Iraqi defectors go largely to their purusit of individual material wealth. The proceeds of a book like Mr. Begg's, however, go, well, to the same places that he went to...extremism.

If I were to write a book called "Mohammed...Vile Pedophile and Goat 'Herder'" Amazon wouldn't carry that, either, in the U.S. or U.K. In the same way that many bookstores refused to stock Satanic Verses, some stores have agendas that only they can explain.

Given the availability of a good number of other politically motivated books at Amazon, I doubt that Amazon is trying to shelter U.S. citizens so much as they are looking out for their own interests (whatever they may be).

But Begg really is an islamic extremist with ties to Al-Qaeda. The UK, who long before 9/11 (or his detainment at Gitmo) knew him to be a terrorist (and arrested him multiple times as such), can have him and his book. Fuck him.

Anonymous A-Hole said...
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Anonymous A-Hole said...

Personally, I'm much more concerned about this.

I'll bet, though, that City Lights carries Mr. Begg's book!

Max said...

Interesting article, A-hole, thanks. The situation with City Lights seems to be an example of people trying so hard to be as liberal as they can be that they actually lose the plot.

I had a small problem with Ferlinghetti and City Lights about 12 years ago, at which time my respect for them diminished. However I do hope that they will carry Begg's book because someone should.