State of EmergencyTravels in a Troubled World
State of Emergency
Travels in a Troubled World
Translated by Tony Crawford

This book ventures into the world beyond Lampedusa: the crisis belt that stretches from Kashmir across Pakistan and Afghanistan to the Arab world and beyond, to the borders and coasts of Europe. Celebrated author Navid Kermani reports from a region which is our immediate neighbour, despite all too often being depicted as remote and distant from our daily concerns. Kermani has visited the places where no CNN transmitter truck is parked and yet smouldering fires threaten world peace. In his widely praised, wonderfully agile and careful prose, he reports on NATO's war in Afghanistan and the underside of globalization in India, on the civil war in Syria and the struggle of Shiites and Kurds against the 'Islamic State' in Iraq. He was the only Western reporter present at the suppression of the mass protests in Tehran, travelled with Sufis through Pakistan, talked with Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf, and observed the disastrous Mediterranean refugee route in Lampedusa. 

Kermani's gripping reports allow us to understand a world in turmoil, to share the suspense and the suffering of the people in it. As if by magic, he brings individual lives and situations to life so vividly that complex and seemingly distant problems of world politics suddenly appear crystal clear. Our world too lies beyond Lampedusa.

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  • May 2018
  • 240 pages
  • 145 x 214 mm / 6 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $72.75
  • 9781509514700
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509514717
  • Open eBook $24.95
  • 9781509514748
Table of Contents
  • Cairo, December 2006
  • Paradise in a State of Emergency
  • Kashmir, October 2007
  • Houseboat 1
  • In the City
  • Houseboat 2
  • Politicians 1-4
  • Night
  • Houseboat 3
  • The Shrine
  • Houseboat 4
  • In the Countryside
  • Houseboat 5
  • The Mother
  • Houseboat 6
  • Ahad Baba
  • In Kashmir, Far Away from Kashmir
  • Landless
  • Between Agra and Delhi, September 2007
  • Lumpenproletariat in Formation
  • Why Complain?
  • They Want Land
  • Expulsion as Industrial Development Policy
  • The Sky and the Ground
  • Ram Paydiri Doesn’t Understand
  • The Laboratory
  • Gujarat, October 2007
  • An Idol
  • On the Rubbish Tip
  • Into the Centre
  • Social Praxis
  • India’s Future
  • Where Even the Atheists Pray
  • The Pit
  • A Visit to the Sufis
  • Pakistan, February 2012
  • Rhythm of God
  • War Against Themselves
  • The Lovers’ Tomb
  • O Papa, Protect Me
  • In the Mansion District
  • The Poor People’s Peace
  • Quiet, Cleanliness and Order
  • The Feast
  • The Cosmic Order
  • Bleak Normality
  • Afghanistan I, December 2006
  • People Don’t Change Much
  • Really Crazy
  • Two British Commanders
  • Humanitarian Mission
  • In Kabul
  • Where Is the Progress?
  • Master Tamim
  • The New Motorway
  • American Headquarters
  • Visit to the Passport Office
  • Cola in the Dark
  • The Limits of Reporting
  • Afghanistan II, September 11, 2011
  • Cemetery 1
  • Walls in Front of Walls
  • Northward
  • Mazar-e Sharif
  • The Best Place in Town
  • In the Countryside
  • In the Panjshir Valley
  • In the South
  • Peace Conference
  • Tribal Leaders 1
  • Kandahar
  • Tribal Leaders 2
  • The Limits of Reporting
  • Cemetery 2
  • The Uprising
  • Tehran, June 2009
  • Chance Companions
  • Arrival
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Back to Saturday
  • Sunday
  • Early Monday
  • When You See the Black Flags
  • Iraq, September 2014
  • I. Najaf: In the Heart of the Shia
  • Ubiquity of Death
  • A Dangerous Topic
  • A Different Shia
  • With Swordlike Index Finger
  • Grand Ayatollah Sistani’s Message
  • II. Baghdad: The Future Is Past
  • A Thirty Years’ War and More
  • A Hookah with Goethe and Hölderlin
  • Fog of Melancholy
  • Right Out of Ali Baba
  • The Last Christian
  • A Warrior
  • III. Kurdistan: The War for Our World Too
  • Literally Overnight
  • What For?
  • To the Front
  • The General
  • The Entrance to Hell
  • Syria, September 2012
  • The Centre and the Margins
  • Artists of the Revolution
  • Two Views
  • Outsourcing Terror
  • The Feast of St Elian
  • At the Tomb of Ibn Arabi
  • Thinking without Gradations
  • The Intensive Care Unit
  • Those Who Can Read, Let Them Read
  • We Too Love Life
  • Palestine, April 2005
  • In Search of Palestine
  • Without Hope
  • The Wall Against Empathy
  • My Capitulation
  • They Are Human Beings
  • Life as What It Is
  • Lampedusa, September 2008
  • Sunday Outing
  • Ghosts
  • Midnight
  • The Previous Mayor
  • The Camp
  • The New Mayor
  • Night Again
  • With or Without Approval
  • Cairo, October 2012
  • Editorial Note
About the Author
Navid Kermani is a writer and scholar who lives in Cologne, Germany. He has received numerous accolades for his literary and academic work, including the 2015 Peace Prize of the German Publishers' Association, Germany's most prestigious cultural award.
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"Those who want to see the day-to-day lives of human beings in the crisis regions of the Middle East - lives that don't make the news - should read Navid Kermani's sensitive reporting. Reports you won't soon forget."

"Kermani's well-researched and sensitive book reveals how violence is born. It also reminds us that far away victims and perpetrators have one thing in common: they're human beings, just like us."
Süddeutsche Zeitung

"Intense, colourful, emotional, subjective."
Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

"Among the most thoughtful intellectual voices in Germany today."
The New York Review of Books

"After reading this book, one puts it down glad to have been both touched and taught."
Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag

“Kermani’s style is nuanced and kindly, poetic and philosophical, he zooms in and out of perspectives like a novelist and is drawn to irresolvable tensions like a conceptual artist... State of Emergency is a humane and timely reminder that there is no one Islam, no one set of Islamic views, values and beliefs, just as there is no one Western creed.”

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