Eco-Publishing: Indie Presses Saving the Planet, One Book at a Time

Independent publishers taking a stand for global peace
Since September 11th, 2001, we have seen all too clearly that terrorism is everywhere, and is escalating as a weapon for righting perceived wrongs even as it creates other often greater wrongs. From the World Trade Center, to the streets of Israel and Palestine, to nightclubs in tropical paradises like Bali, to theater houses in Moscow, no one is immune -- no man, woman, child, religion, ethnic or political group. Where will it strike next? Why? We all agree that terrorism is a terrible thing, yet one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

The horror of 9/11 remains indelible. The destruction of that day-and its causes and effects-continue to haunt us. How could the most powerful nation in the world be so vulnerable? How will the US government wage its declared war on terror -- and where will that war take us? These are the questions addressed by the books published by Olive Branch Press, a division of Interlink Publishing Group, a company long known for its progressive worldview.

Olive Branch Press publishes socially and politically relevant non-fiction, concentrating on topics and areas of the world often ignored by the Western media. Titles also include works on a wide range of contemporary issues such as Middle East studies, African studies, women's studies, religion, and translated works by academics of international stature.

Olive Branch is committed to peace in the Middle East, and to promoting understanding of all sides of the ongoing conflicts there, no matter how unpopular a viewpoint this may be. Chief editor for Olive Branch is Phyllis Bennis, who has also authored several Olive Branch titles, and is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.

When asked how he sees Olive Branch Press in relation to Interlink, publisher Michel Moushabeck said he started Olive Branch because, "If we don't do these books, no one else will. Olive Branch is the heart and soul of Interlink. It is what everything else we do emanates from. Our Interlink travel books, our fiction and poetry, even our cookbooks all issue from this standpoint." As if to illustrate his own active involvement in foreign policy and world affairs, Moushabeck spoke to us while preparing to leave for the MESA (Middle East Studies Association) conference in Washington.

Interlink's motto is "Changing the way people think about the world." Their travel books are well known for providing much more than the where-to-go, what-to-see fare. They discuss history, culture, politics and social issues in detail not found elsewhere in travel sections. It is telling that so many Interlink travel books are adopted for college courses.

In essence, when Moushabeck established Interlink Publishing back in 1987, it was because as an Arab-American, he could not find much information, either in the media or books, about politics and history of "Third World" countries -- especially the Middle East. "Before September 11, 2001, there was very little available on this area," says Moira Megargee, Publicity Director at Interlink. "Of course that is no longer true, but we were here first, and we continue to be a clear and original voice for those who have trouble being heard."

A group of recent, new and upcoming books from Interlink reflects who they are how involved they are in Middle East issues. We will highlight two current titles; for more information visit the website.

Unlocking the Middle East: The Writings of Richard Falk (Spring 2003)

Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today's UN by Phyllis Bennis Sharing the Promised Land: A Tale of Israelis and Palestinians by Dilip Hiro

New Nukes: India, Pakistan and Global Nuclear Disarmament by Praful Bidwai and Achin Vanaik, with an introduction by Arundhati Roy The Great Terror War
by Richard Falk

Veteran human rights activist, prolific author, international law scholar and professor -- the venerable Richard Falk has written a thoughtful, and historical perspective on terrorism in the post-September 11th world. The Great Terror War provides clear explanations for "why they hate us." He discusses how American foreign policy since the end of World War II has helped to create the current situation; how we have yet to learn the lessons of Vietnam regarding military intervention in third world countries; and how, since the end of the Cold War, the US -- the world's only remaining superpower -- has grown only more blatant in its disregard of world opinion, our allies, and the United Nations.

Falk's is a clear and reasoned voice in the wilderness, basing his arguments on international law, and basic human rights and morality, while acknowledging the appropriate role of the military. The Great Terror War resonates with sound judgment not only on where and how we have erred, but on what can be done to help right the wrongs that are causing "mega-terrorism" throughout the world today. This book is both timely and timeless, and should be required reading for anyone who cares about how we can try to avert the impending crisis in Iraq, or anywhere else.

First outlining what is new and different about the challenge of mega-terrorism, Falk thoughtfully teases out the implications of the various US responses: the war in Afghanistan, as declared and as carried out; the extension of the war to Saddam Hussein's Iraq; the domestic focus on security and patriotism; the intensified unilateralism of the Bush administration.

As an independently minded scholar whose interest in politics has always been in enhancing the wellbeing of people throughout the world, Richard Falk brings a thoughtful and necessary perspective to current crises. His political and moral imagination, driven by his humble insistence on both realism and hope, make his words ones to heed for anyone who -- despite the news -- still wants to imagine a safer, fairer, more humane future for all the world's peoples.

Richard Falk is Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Chair of the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. A prolific writer, speaker and activist of world affairs, he is author or coauthor of more than 20 books, among them, The War System, A Study of Future World, On Human Governance and The End of the World Order. His most recent book was Religion and Humane Global Governance.

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Before & After
U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11th Crisis

by Phyllis Bennis
foreword by Noam Chomsky

Americans were uniformly shocked by the lethal ferocity of the September 11 attacks. Appalled by the carnage, people and governments around the world extended their unstinting sympathy to the United States -- but many made it clear that sympathy for the victims did not equal support for Washington's response to the terror attacks.

Before & After examines the role of United States' foreign policy in the terrorism/anti-terrorism crisis that began - publicly -- with the attack on the World Trade Center, but which in fact has roots that began long before that terrible September day. It dissects not only the specific Middle East policies long identified with public opposition in the region (for example: support for Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, economic sanctions responsible for widespread deaths of Iraqi civilians), but also provides context for these issues and the legacy of U.S. unilateralism.

Instead of focusing on how the terrorist attacks affect Americans and America alone, it provides an overview of the historical reasons why September 11th happened, what can be done to prevent future September 11ths without causing more civilian casualties and why we must not stand by and allow the current and future administrations to continue to abuse and disdain both international law and our own Constitution in the name of anti-terrorism.

Before & After traces the decisions made by the Bush administration in the wake of the September 11 attacks, analyzes the choices ignored, the options discarded, and the international laws violated -- and the likely consequences. Phyllis Bennis is a Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies. Her books include Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today's UN and Beyond the Storm: A Gulf Crisis Reader.

"The essential book on the subject: tautly written, brilliantly argued, massively documented. A major achievement." - Edward W. Said

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The Great Terror War
by Richard Falk
Publication date: February 2003
Olive Branch Press, an imprint of Interlink Publishing Group, Inc.
Current Affairs 6" x 9" 320 pages
ISBN 1-56656-460-3 paperback $17.95 (in Canada $28.95)

Before & After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11th Crisis
by Phyllis Bennis
foreword by Noam Chomsky
Olive Branch Press, an imprint of Interlink Publishing Group, Inc.
Current Affairs 6" x 9" 264 pages
ISBN 1-56656-462-X paperback $17.95 (in Canada $28.95)