Change is everywhere at the moment. Barack Obama has just won the presidency of the United States upon cajoling it to happen; while soul the singer Seal (never one to miss a trick, let alone a marketing opportunity) nigh simultaneously resurrected Sam Cooke’s wonderful Civil Rights anthem, ‘A Change Is Gonna Come.’ The former has undoubtedly performed a whole lot better than the latter, who has unsurprisingly, failed miserably.
By winning the occupancy of the White House, America’s first black President is in a fantastic position to finally vindicate Cooke’s quest for change - but only time will invariably inform us as to whether or not he truly succeeds in doing so.
If Will America Change? is anything to go by, it’s going to be a tumultuously uphill struggle - all the way. Already on page one, we read: ‘’The world’s problems with America centre on its changelessness,’’ and by the time we reach page 10, we are informed: ‘’Whether America can be changed is the darkest cloud of doubt and fear looming over the global future.’’
Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies have written a book that needs to be read by Americans; not by Europeans or those living in squalor as a result of spurious American foreign policy. That the newly elected 44th President of the United States made a big thing of impending change, can only be a good thing. But, just as one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist, one man’s (European) change is another man’s (American) stasis – and never shall the twain particularly meet: ‘’Meaningful change needs a different Ground Zero, one that seriously debates the recurrence of the devastating consequences of American policies around the world and wrestles with the causes of the consistent attitudes that sour America’s relations with the world.’’
The authors are as ideologically informative as they are on occasion, poignantly pronounced. For example, when discussing American foreign policy, Sardar and Davies dissect certain strands by relating it to, and then quoting straight from T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral: ‘’sin grows with doing good.’’
Indeed it does. And indeed it continues to do so. One need only look at Iraq.
If a change is gonna come, this book needs to be read by all those who are in a position to make it happen, not merely by those who reap the repercussions of it remaining as is.
Will America Change?
By Ziauddin Sardar & Merryl Wyn Davies
Icon Books - £8.99