Arab Liberals: the last hope for reform

Special to The Daily Star

An interesting phenomenon has been taking place of late: coverage in the international media of the activities of Arab and Muslim terrorists has given way, for a short while at least, to a consideration of Arab liberal intellectuals and activists and their potential role in the longed-for reform process in the Arab world.  Continue reading

For a more rational approach to peace and normalisation

As a 35-year-old Arab, I have learned not to put too much faith in my leaders’ ability to rise to my expectations, no matter how reasonable and modest they happen to be. I have also learned that any regional leader, Arab or Israeli, who thinks that a solution to the conflict can be accomplished by military means is an idiot, albeit a dangerous one.

Aside from anything that happens at the Beirut summit, there are many Arabs, of all classes and backgrounds, who sincerely want a more rational and compassionate approach to peace and normalisation. Continue reading

A Dialogue on the Middle East and Other Subjects

Anthropoetics 7, no. 2 (Fall 2001 / Winter 2002)

Ammar Abdulhamid (Author & Pro-Democracy Activist, Damascus, Syria) & Eric Gans (French & Francophone Studies UCLA, Los Angeles CA)

Editorial Note: This text was composed in September-October 2001 as an interview intended for publication in the Arabic-language webzine Maaber ( In part because it clarifies my position on matters that have preoccupied us since September 11, I requested Mr. Abdulhamid’s permission to publish it in Anthropoetics. Taking advantage of what the French call l’esprit de l’escalier, I have appended some additional material in [brackets]. – EG (bio)

Maaber’s editorial team (here and here) have also taken advantage of the same esprit de l’escalier and have appended some commentaries in red. – Dimitri A. Continue reading