By Samir Kassir

Earlier than his assassination in 2005, Samir Kassir used to be one in every of Lebanon’s finest public intellectuals. In Being Arab, a thought-provoking overview of Arab id, he calls at the humans of the center East to reject either Western double criteria and Islamism in an effort to take the long run into their very own arms. Passionately written and brilliantly argued, this rallying cry for switch has now been heard via hundreds of thousands.

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The havoc radiating out from the Iraqi inferno alone should convey the extent of the impasse the Arab world has reached. Iraq unites the three ills obstructing the future: dictatorship – and what a dictatorship, still traumatic even after its fall – foreign occupation and, thanks to the occupation’s blunders, a wave of blind violence that justifies itself in the name of religious messianism. Instead of Iraq growing into the Arab Prussia it showed signs of becoming in the 1930s, the extraordinary squandering of its riches threatens to turn it into a second Somalia.

Syria denied the men were here. Mr Kassir’s last column – on the Friday before his death - was an attack on the Syrian Ba’ath party, headlined ‘Mistake after mistake’. So who murdered Samir Kassir? Robert Fisk 3 June 2005 FOREWORD IT’S NOT PLEASANT being Arab these days. Feelings of persecution for some, self-hatred for others; a deep disquiet pervades the Arab world. Even those groups that for a long time have considered themselves invulnerable, the Saudi ruling class and Kuwaiti rich, have ceased to be immune to the enveloping sense of malaise since a certain September 11.

One school of thought, inspired by American neoconservatives, maintains that the persistence of Arabism is one of the causes of the Arab world’s backwardness. This is most improbable. The picture would be no more cheering if one were to consider each Arab country separately. Admittedly, a tracking shot of this atypical continent would reveal some contented Arabs, and others who are aspiring to be so, but it would also show at every turn societies in crisis and deadlocked states, all ill-equipped to take their futures into their own hands.

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Being Arab by Samir Kassir
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