Adam Shatz’s April 1, 2015 article, “Stranger Still,” published in the New York Times Magazine is an introduction to Kamel Dowd:
I first heard about the writer Kamel Daoud a few years ago, when an Algerian friend of mine told me I should read him if I wanted to understand how her country had changed in recent years. “If Algeria can produce a Kamel Daoud,” she said, “I still have hope for Algeria.” Reading his columns in Le Quotidien d’Oran, a French-language newspaper, I saw what she meant. Daoud had an original, epigrammatic style: playful, lyrical, brash. I could also see why he’d been accused of racism, even “self-hatred.” . . . The more I read Daoud, the more I sensed he was driven not by self-hatred but by disappointed love.
Kamel Dowd’s November 20 New York Times article, “Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It,” is, as Shatz’s says, written in “an original, epigrammatic style: playful, lyrical, brash”:
Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.