- Zia Hashmi Interview October 7, 2015
Interview and transcription by Paul A. Rodell
– Today is October 7 and it is a few minutes after 7 o’clock here on this Wednesday night. I am Paul Rodell and I’m talking to Zia Hashmi, who is a retiree extraordinaire from Georgia Southern University where he spent his academic career. And we’re here to talk about his relationship to ATWS and meeting Harold Isaacs and to prepare something of a remembrance now that Harold has left the scene.
– So, Zia Good Evening!
– Good Evening, how are you?
– I am full of excitement to get on with this. So before I started the tape, I told you that I wanted first to find out how you became acquainted with Harold and his association.
– Well, actually, I think it was October 1988. One evening, I got a telephone call from Harold Issacs whom I had never met and never talked. And he told me that he wanted me to come to his institution and give a lecture as a part of his Third World Perspectives lecture series. I was so surprised I did not ask him how he got my name. But, when he made an offer, I said okay I will be glad to come and give a lecture. I [End Page 31] asked if he wanted me to speak on a certain topic, or if he wanted me to select a topic? He said, no, no, no, I have a topic in my mind. And it was very relevant now for the twentieth-first century: it was international terrorism, its causes and its ramifications. That is the topic he wanted me to speak on.
– I want to pause a moment to check the machine to be sure we are recording properly.
– Okay, the tape is on and everything is good. So, he wanted you to speak on international terrorism? And this was in ’88?
– Yes, in 1988. And he was very much thinking about Palestinian terrorism. But I thought that I should first discuss a number of other terrorist organizations, especially in Germany and Italy. So, anyhow that was the first lecture and then he wrote me and told me that my lecture was very much liked by the attendees and he was very happy. And to my surprise within a month he said “come back again Zia and talk about the revolutions in the Middle East, what is happening in the Middle East. So, I agreed and went to his institution. So that was the way and that was my introduction to Harold Isaacs.
And during my first meeting of course he told me about his lecture series and then he told me that there was something that he wanted to do and that is the Association of Third World Studies.
– So by that time it was not yet started?
– I think he was thinking about it. I really don’t know whether he had … But, I heard for the first time about the Third World Studies program. I said, “Well that is a great idea and I will be glad to work with you.” And after that I attended practically all of the meetings of the Third World Studies Association. And I invited him to come to Georgia Southern where we organized a meeting. I really don’t know what number it was. And then I took them to South Carolina and from [End Page 32] that point on we worked closely for the Association of Third World Studies. Now then he told me that he is publishing a journal the Journal of Third World Studies and he wants me to work as the Associate Editor especially in the area of the Middle East which I again agreed and worked with him.
Now that is the beginning of my relationship and as you wrote (in your remembrance about Harold), and I agree with you, that I was very much impressed by his determination, by his vision, and by his enthusiasm in this area. And from then on the cooperative role continued, I worked very...