SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

The Commander: Fawzi al-Qawuqji and the Fight for Arab Independence 1914-1948

The Commander
Laila Parsons, Institute of Islamic Studies (McGill University)

Date: 2 May 2017Time: 5:45 PM

Finishes: 2 May 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Wolfson Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture

Lecture by Professor Parson's on her latest book The Commander: Fawzi al-Qawuqji and the Fight for Arab Independence 1914-1948 (Hill and Wang, 2016). Revered by some as the Arab Garibaldi, maligned by others as an intriguer and opportunist, Fawzi al-Qawuqji manned the ramparts of Arab history for four decades. In his most famous role, he would command the Arab Liberation Army in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. Laila Parsons tells Qawuqji’s dramatic story and sets it in the full context of his turbulent times. Following Israel’s decisive victory, Qawuqji was widely faulted as a poor leader with possibly dubious motives. The Commander shows us that the truth was more complex: although he doubtless made some strategic mistakes, he never gave up fighting for Arab independence and unity, even as those ideals were undermined by powers inside and outside the Arab world. In Qawuqji’s life story we find the origins of today’s turmoil in the Arab Middle East.

Laila Parsons is an an associate professor at McGill in the Department of History and Classical Studies and the Institute for Islamic Studies. She is a specialist in the history of the 20th-century Middle East and her current project is a study of Palestinian participation in colonial commissions during the mandate period.

Chair: Charles Tripp, SOAS

Organiser: London Middle East Institute

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4330/4490