Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bashir Da`uq: dead. A touching tribute by Ma`n Bashshur for Bashir Ad-Da`uq. I don't have time to write about Da`uq but he deserves mention. This London-trained economist returned to Lebanon and joined the Ba`th Party. But that was not his real contribution. His contribution was founding Dar At-Tali`ah and the journal Dirasat `Arabiyyah. The monthly journal played a most important role in the 1960s--much more than Adonis' Mawaqif. It served as a pan-Arab platform for Arab intellectuals worldwide. It was on its pages that I discovered the writings of Sadiq Al-`Adhm and Al-`Afif Al-Akhdar (when I re-read them now, I am struck by the crude Orientalist cliches contained in them). But Da`uq was not dogmatic, and he atypically permitted a wide parameter of debate and expression. His publishing house played a most important role in the 1960s and 1970s, and he was responsible for collecting the articles of Michel `Aflaq. He later married the Syrian writer/journalist Ghada As-Samman who overshadowed him. Da`uq was very low key, and avoided the limelight. The Arab intellectual school of self-criticisms after 1967--with all its limitations and shortcomings and problems--owe a lot to him.