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Figure of the Month: George Tarabishi, Contemporary Intellectual Giant PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 June 2009 19:49
George Tarabishi
By Diacorda Amosapa

Syrian author and social thinker George Tarabishi has been selected by Al Waref Institute as the Figure of the Month of June. Tarabishi is a contemporary intellectual giant whose work has made an integral contribution to debates in philosophy, politics and culture in the MENA region and the world.

Tarabishi was born in 1939 in Aleppo, Syria. He graduated from the Arabic Literature Department at the University of Damascus. Soon after he became the director of Damascus Radio for a short period of time, and then held the editor-in-chief post of Arab Studies magazine. He later moved to Lebanon and currently lives in France.

He has provided unabridged, high quality translations of over 200 books into Arabic.  The works translated were authored by thinkers such as George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Jean-Paul Sartre, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Simone de Beauvoir.  The translations provide a crucial bridge between Arabic speakers and a wellspring of ideas generated and transmitted from sources outside the Middle East.

Tarabishi has also produced numerous books and articles in his own right, which have stimulated widespread debate among his intellectual colleagues and beyond. Many of his commentaries weave psychoanalysis derived from Freudian theories.  One of his most famous works is a multi-volume critique of the award-winning book Critique of Arab Reason by Moroccan thinker Muhammad Abid al-Jabiri'. Tarabishi has written on issues such as the nature of Arab identity, feminism, democracy, and US foreign policy, as well as produced literary criticisms on works that often address many of these same issues. His intellectual development has moved from Baathist and Marxist ideology to liberalism.

The intellectual biography of George Tarabishi is a profile in sustained critical analysis and of transformation embracing democratic ideals. Tarabishi's writings and speaking appearances encourage robust debate in the MENA region on several contemporary and perennial issues, enriching the intellectual environment by thwarting stagnation and promoting dynamism and progress.

To learn more about George Tarabishi, please also visit our Figure of the Month article on him on our Arabic web site.
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