Monday, July 07, 2003

Here is a link to an article of mine published earlier this week in the Daily Star, on the issuing of honorary doctorates to a number of Arab celebrities, including Edward Said, Amin Maalouf, Helen Thomas, Carlos Ghosn, and Lakhdar al-Ibrahimi.

I mention only Said and Maalouf in the piece, arguing that both men in different ways (through their lives, but in Maalouf's case expressed as well through his novel The Rock of Tanios) embody the hopelessness of the intellectual in the Middle East: Said because his rants never propose a solution; Maalouf because he had to exile himself from a Lebanon descending into civil war to be able to flourish, and then was lucid enough to express this in a novel.

In this context I must point readers to Fares Sassine's brilliant review of The Rock of Tanios in the Fall 1994 issue of the Beirut Review, which I edited. I can provide no link, but the Review is available at some U.S. university libraries, or from the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies.

It's one of those rare things: a review that gives value to the book being examined, and that in many respects is better than it.

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