“Being Arab” of Samir Kassir

This article is also available in: Italiano

An essay of rare power and clarity, a testament left by the author for the whole Arab world. In his latest essay, Samir Kassir will show us the causes of this great “unhappiness” and the steps that this people must take to rise once again from their own ashes.

“Being Arab”

«This manifesto-book carries within itself the strength of a testament and the visionary strength of a beginning. In the dramatic amalgamation between individual end and collective beginning, Samir Kassir condenses his path towards a new Arab Renaissance, which defends modernity and re-reads contemporary Arab culture with a renewed critical spirit. The will, which redraws the image of the intellectual, defining it as a conscience free from all constraints other than the commitment to freedom and the defense of truth as well as the intellectual represents it.

Being Arab
The Alhambra in Granada

And the beginning, which has coined great models that ask us to be surpassed and perfected, because they must be brought to maturity by a historical-cultural work that sets to work to break the circle of Arab unhappiness. This is why the reader feels he is facing a cry calling for freedom and democracy. It is launched by a journalist who lives events. To make it take shape is a historian who elaborates the memory. And in this fusion the uniqueness of Samir Kassir is affirmed ».
Elias Khoury

Testament for the Arab world

The words of the writer Elias Khoury would be enough to tell the value of this work, the last one before Kassir died in an attack in Beirut. In the essay we are shown the causes of this “Arab unhappiness”, a feeling that pervades the entire Arab world and which, in this historical moment, prevents it from emerging. However, the writer is keen to point out, throughout the text, that very often it is the Arabs themselves who ignore their own history.

Being Arab
Samir Kassir

According to Kassir, in fact, Arab culture has never stopped developing, remaining, on the contrary, one of the few areas in the world to have maintained an original culture today; as well as being the only power to have stood up to Europe for centuries. The cause of this sinking is then to be found in modern times with the “failure of the Nahda“, the Arab cultural rebirth of the early 1900s and the political revolutions of the same years. In particular, the author attributes to the birth of Israel an insurmountable obstacle to the Arab peoples, a foreign presence right in the place of their origins. Traditionally, in fact, it is the Mashreq, the Arab world of the East, that influences the rest of the culture, thanks to an incredible abundance of artists and writers. The siege of Beirut, in particular, it represents for the author the definitive end of this movement which will cease to exist precisely following this event.

Believe it

For Samir Kassir, however, a rebirth is still possible, albeit difficult to implement, and is to be found in a renewal of the past. But not in a past viewed with reverence, but with inspiration. One of the defects of this period, due precisely to the condition of extreme disappointment and poverty in which most Arabs suffer, is in fact that of copying uncritically from the past, looking at modernity as an invader to be feared and fought. It is precisely in a climate of such disappointment, in fact, that the Arabs began to be fascinated by martyrdom, which had never before appeared in these places before.

eL Seed
A work by the Franco-Tunisian artist eL Seed

However, a rebirth is still possible and will necessarily have to exploit the new and the heterogeneity of a world so vast and always wide-ranging. Paradoxically, in fact, it is precisely the Arab countries that have found their strength from diversity, unlike Europe which traditionally lives on ethnic-national bases. It is precisely in the differences and in the mixture of styles and cultures that the Middle East has found its strength, precisely in them it must find the strength to be reborn. A renewal that will necessarily have to adapt to our times, without however losing its identity.

We are proud to have been able to bring you “Being Arab” so quickly, a book that we did not know before a few days ago but which has bewitched us to the core. In fact, we fully share Kassir’s message and we are proud to have discovered that, in a certain sense, our site contributes to raising what were his hopes. Follow us on our facebook page, Spotify, YouTube,Twitter and Instagram, or on our Telegram channel. Any like, sharing or support is welcome and helps us to dedicate ourselves more and more to our passion: telling the Middle East ..

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