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Georges Tarabichi

جورج طرابيشي George Tarabishi

The 100 Influential Voices from the Arab World is an ongoing research project on leading voices and themes in Arab public discourse. The principal investigator is Hassan I. Mneimneh.

Georges Tarabichi served as the director of Damascus Radio between 1963 and 1964 and was editor-in-chief of the magazine Arab Studies. His books include: هرطقات (Heretical thoughts), 2 vols., Beirut, Dar al-Saqi, 2006-2008; نقد نقد العقل العربي (A critique of the critique of the Arab reason), 4 vols., Beirut, Dar al-Saqi, 1999-2004; المثقفون العرب والتراث (Arab intellectuals and their heritage), London, Ryad al-Rayyis, 1991; مذبحة التراث في الثقافة العربية المعاصرة (Slaughter of the heritage in contemporary Arab culture), London, Dar al-Saqi, 1989; الدولة القطرية والنظرية القومية (The regional state and the theory of nationalism), Beirut, Dar al-Taliʿa, 1982. Born in 1939 in Aleppo, Syria, Tarabichi resides in Paris, France. He holds a B.A. in Arabic and a M.A. in education from the University of Damascus.


A prolific author, translator, and literary critic, Tarabishi presents a prominent example of the evolution of nationalistic thought towards a more nuanced appropriation of democracy, secularism, and pluralism. A vocal critic of the autocratic tendencies in Arab culture, Tarabishi has developed a careful deconstruction of the objections to the separation of religion and politics. The scale of this author's contribution to world literature is quite significant. Based on his reviews of the most famous political and religious works, students write their master thesis.

EXCERPT (Translated)

Remaining idle is no longer an option for the Arab world. It must make progress or run the risk of retreating into a modern-day medieval era, which is what the political and ideological forces that are described loosely as “extremist” are hastening. This is not surprising, since these forces are far more opposed to secularization and secularism than anything else. Acting under the banner of tradition, they instinctively comprehend what the predominant Arab intellectual elite’s popular reason cannot, namely that the so-called re-Islamization of society or its purging and purification from the blemishes of the secularization “imported from the West” is guaranteed to bring about the blasphemous modernity’s death. This very modernity had begun to infiltrate into the Arab world during “the Age of Enlightenment” and therefore, the re-Islamization of society is intimately connected to the sanctification of culture, which has been the Arab cultural scene’s most notable characteristic during the past decades.

–Georges Tarabichi, "Secularism as Worldly Jihad," alawan.org, January 16, 200

EXCERPT (Original in Arabic- Link)

فالعالم العربي، [ ...] لم يعد يملك حتى خيار المراوحة في مكانه. فما لم يتقدم فإنه مهدّد بالانكفاء نحو قرون وسطى جديدة. وليس من قبيل الصدفة أن القوى السياسية والإيديولوجية الموصوفة وصفاً غير مطابق بأنها “أصولية”، والعاملة من أجل تسريع عجلة هذا الانكفاء، لا تعادي شيئاً اليوم كما تعادي العلمنة والعلمانية. فهذه القوى الناشطة تحت لواء القدامة تدرك بنوع من حدس غريزي ما لا يدركه العقل الشعبوي السائد اليوم في أوساط النخب المثقفة العربية، وهو أن ما تسميه إعادة أسلمة المجتمع، أي تنقيته وتطهيره من أوشاب العلمنة “المستوردة من الغرب”، هي الطريق المضمون الذي يقود مباشرة إلى مقبرة الحداثة “الكافرة”.

وبما أن هذه الحداثة كانت شرعت بالتسرب إلى العالم العربي خلال ما اصطلح على تسميته بـ”عصر النهضة”، فإن إعادة أسلمة المجتمع تلك ترتبط ارتباطاً عضوياً بإعادة تديين الثقافة. وإعادة التديين هذه هي أهم ما يميز المشهد الثقافي العربي في العقود الأخيرة.