Sketches of Classical Persian Ambience Found in New Picture Book

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Raad Chalabi looks lightly at the complexity of the modern world and gives readers shots of wisdom with a friendly smile

Like that most ubiquitous institution of Arab markets, the bazaar, Raad Chalabi’s Sketches for the Politically Incorrect welcomes everyone to its shelves that might contain anything from the fine filigrees of Damascene steel art to rugs woven into complexity by a shepherd’s wife’s sleepless nights in a cave in Anatolia.

Here is Ramiz Alkishin and he is a grocer. This is the second book in which he figures as the narrator. To the potential buyer who asks if this work is about fruits and vegetables he would answer, no, it is about many different incidents in life conveyed as conversations between people, animals or things. If the potential buyer of this book of sketches asks further: is it fiction or true? Ramiz would then answer that it is true in its message and fiction in its story line. And when the potential buyer asks again, how do these incidents come about? Ramiz would calmly tell that these are mainly conversations with himself as an amateur and professional. If, finally, the potential buyer asks, what is the difference? Then, Ramiz would tell him that in a professional phase, he looked at a mirror. In the course of learning the world, scholars must be able to recall everything they know in the instant it takes to look at themselves in a mirror. In addition, they must be able to present the world with a clear, limpid picture of what they know in one concentrated look.

The author must have encountered many things in the process of taking his doctorate that simply did not make sense in his view…Although such things easily lay themselves open to caricature, the author refuses, like the good scholar that he is, to criticise. Instead, he gently chides the political cosmos at large with sketches that will easily find a place in a compilation of the best sketches made by Persian scholars who lived centuries before. Chalabi is proof of this school’s dynamism. Although classified as a picture book, Chalabi does not disguise his work. Instead, he offers the classic simple fare of fruit and sweetbreads and wine on an oasis of learning to those who are in the same traverse of a wisdom-parched world. He offers the additional entertainment of illustrations, the portraits of life that may be found within the book.

Life must be tread simply, this is the normative approach to Classical Persian philosophy –a philosophy that has maintained its “mystique” in that it does not directly teach (in the sense of the Grecian Academy) but rather favors the experiential approach to learning. Thus, the classical scholar does not partake of legends from the past but makes up his own legends made by the road he has trodden on the way to wisdom.

For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to

Sketches for the Politically Incorrect * by Raad Chalabi, PhD
Publication Date: October 26, 2011
Picture Book; £35.99; 200 pages; 978-1-4653-7239-0
Picture Book Hardcover; £45.99; 200 pages; 978-1-4653-7240-6

Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary paperback copy by contacting the publisher at +0800-644-6988. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at 44-203-006-8880 or call +0800-644-6988.

For more information, contact Xlibris at +0800-644-6988 or on the web at


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