Are dictators mad or do they just not know when to quit? Do they know that people hate them, or do they have personality disorders that block this knowledge from their consciousness?
In Madmen At The Helm, while considering the geopolitical manipulations by outside forces, Muriel Mirak-Weissbach takes a unique perspective when she places the events of the Arab Spring in the context of personality disorders such as narcissism, paranoia, delusion, hysteria, and sociopathy, considering five Arab leaders (Mubarak, Qaddafi, Ben Ali, Saleh and Assad) in turn.
A watershed in Arab history, the Arab spring gave young protesters the impetus to challenge established and entrenched dictatorial regimes for the first time, and to demand representative government. Mirak-Weissbach examines the public statements, speeches, interviews, and courses of actions of the five leaders in response to these challenges, and identifies patterns and similarities of behavior. She then argues that their responses illustrate their psychological inability to face reality, and their determination to cling fanatically to power in the face of revolt.
A postscript to the book serves to show that this is a universal phenomenon, not a uniquely Arab one, by identifying examples of narcissism and its associated disorders in contemporary American politics.
This book will have huge appeal to those interested in gaining a deeper insight into the catalyst for and responses to the Arab Spring, and its implications for the future of democracy and power, in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Muriel Mirak-Weissbach is a native of Winchester and Arlington, and lives with her husband in Germany. She has worked for 30 years as a political journalist, specializing in economic, political, and cultural developments in the Arab and Islamic world. Hundreds of her articles have appeared on topics related to development policy, the dialogue between Christianity and Islam, and political events in the Arab and Islamic world. A regular contributor to Arab Forum and www.globalresearch.ca, she has recently authored articles in several Armenian publications.
Mirak-Weissbach will sign and speak about her new book, Madmen At The Helm: Pathology and Politics in the Arab Spring, on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at Book Ends. This event is free and open to the public.
For more information about this or other events at Book Ends, please call 781-721-5933 or visit our website at www.bookendswinchester.com.