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Volume :13 Issue : 52 1995      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Crisis of Contemporary Arab Intellectualism (A Historical Perspective) (in Arabic)

Auther : Ishaq Ebeid

The Arabs in the middle ages were singled out as the genuine intellectuals of the whole world. For any European who aspired for classical refinement, Arabic was the only prescribed venue.
However, in the Renaissance while Europe was emerging from the "Dark times" and stepping into the dawn of the "Vita nova," the Arab world was destined to fall under the tyranny of the Mamluk and Ottoman Sultans consecutively. Contemporary historians such as ibn-Taghri Bardi (15th c.) and ibn-lyas (16th c.) have adequately portrayed the conditions of Arab Communities in those gloomy days, when superstition prevailed and ignorance ruled.
When Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt (1798), people were stunned by what they witnessed - with gaping eyes - of sophisticated weaponery and technology. Both Al - Jabarti and Al-Tahtawi testify to this fact, and zealously invoke the Arabs to rise from their negative stance.
After the liberation of the Arab countries from the clutches of imperialism, Arab intellectuals espoused some Western ideologies, which eventually fell on deaf ears. The younger generations, seeing that matters in many spheres fell into disrepair, sought refuge and consolation from the records of the "Utopian" olden days. In this atmosphere of turmoil and confusion, many cardinal principles were lost: concepts of rational thinking, globalism, holism, to mention but few points, are being dulled down and obliterated.
It should be admitted that contemporary Arab intellect does not occupy even a marginal share in the world arena, with its unceasing challenges and modern techniques. We are not yet aware that the classical Darwinian dictum of "Survival for the Fittest" has been replaced by a new philosophy which says "Survival for the Diversified". Nor we fully attentive to the fact that "monoculture - communities" are doomed to end up as fossilised ghetto - mentalities.
Arab intellectuals are fervently invoked to espouse the venue of reforming notions and schedules instead of obsolete rhetoric and abusive oratoria.
Also our education policies, which are based on memorisation, need be radically changed to promote clear thinking and creativity. What the Arab world direly needs on the eve of the Twenty-First Century is a positive shift from the stagnant stance of culture - keeping into an attitude of motivation and positive contribution in all walks of life.

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