Book Review – Black Wave by Kim Ghattas

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Rivalry That Unravelled the Middle EastBlack Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Rivalry That Unravelled the Middle Eastby Kim Ghattas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a brilliant, well researched book that unravels everything which is the cause of so much turbulence in the world today. Anyone who wants to understand why Islamic societies are in turmoil right now should read this book. It bares out all the critical events and key players behind the chaos within Muslim world.
This in essence, is the story of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran which betrayed the Ummah and forced Muslim countries one after the another under the Black Wave of intolerance, violence & suppression resulting in the birth of monstrosities like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hezbollah, Jaish-E-Mohhamed and numerous others.
To some particularly the young generation, it might come as a surprise but Islamic societies were at pace with the world till 1950s. They were modern, cultured, civilised & secular but then it all changed. The flow of petro-dollars after that enabled Saudi Arabia to export their restricted Wahhabi ideology all over the Muslim world. This narrow strand within Islam spread its tentacles all over the Islamic societies in the subsequent years and made them to shun modernism and culture, instead pushing them under the firm grip of clerics and Jihadis.
The book recounts the tale of this deep dive into Abyss starting from 1979 when it all exploded with the confluence 0f three major events. First one was Iranian revolution which started the Shia-Sunni divide, second was the siege of Holy Mosque that gave the upper hand to clerics to implement their interpretation of Sharia of Muslim world and last was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that led to an army of Jihadis who then spread around the world causing all the mayhem.
This Black Wave is now trying to envelope India which has been the bastion of freedom and secularism throughout human history. There are lessons to be learned in this book on how India can avoid the fate of other countries which succumbed to these dark forces. In India, Islam has its last chance to find a fertile ground to reform & regenerate and reach its full potential. India through out ages have assimilated different faiths in its core fabric and nurtured each one towards their betterment. Islam can leverage that wealth of spiritual knowledge that India possesses to transform itself into a forward looking inclusive religion that meets the aspirations of the faithfuls.
At once bold and intimate, Black Wave is a remarkable and engrossing story of the Middle East as it has never been told before.

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