What makes Georges Tarabichi great?
It is difficult to read the works of Abdallah Laroui, Mohammad Arkoun, Mohammad al-Jabri and Georges Tarabichi and not get affected by them
Our modern intellectual thought is full of brilliant and influential figures who are not only well-known in the Arab world but have also attained worldwide fame.
It is difficult to read the works of Abdallah Laroui, Mohammad Arkoun, Mohammad al-Jabri and Georges Tarabichi and not get affected by them. These authors influence the readers’ convictions and the ideas they inherit without questioning.
They undo the pause that we apply on our minds and revive the questions that we always wanted to ask. Their tryst with education and learning is a beacon of light for students as it teaches them persistence, hard work and patience.
Last month, Dr. Tarabichi wrote an article on six phases of his life. It took the reader through a range of emotions, from a sense of weakness to strength and from stimulation to deterrence. Such writings always reveal different sides of a renowned intellectual. In this case, it was one of the most significant modern thinkers of our times.
The Freud connection
Dr. Tarabichi highlighted the changes in his religious belief and how he developed Baathist orientations and went to jail. He also narrates how he became interested in the works of Sigmund Freud, which greatly influenced him. “My story with Freud began with a funny incident,” he wrote.
“After I got married and had two kids, I developed the habit of unconsciously tearing apart loaves of bread from the sides. I would do that in the presence of my wife and daughters while we sat on the table. I couldn’t resist this habit even when we had guests on the table.”
“My wife would tell me this was inappropriate. One day I was reading an article - I don’t think it was by Freud but by one of his students. It was about this psychological phenomenon in which tearing bread into crumbs was described as a neurotic symptom and an unconscious destruction of the father’s image. When I read it, I started to shake (and realized): ‘I am tearing my father apart!’ In fact, I wasn’t on good terms with my father during my teenage years.”
Dr. Tarabichi, who believed in writing as an outlet and as a means to change society’s obsolete ideas, feels great pain over the disastrous crisis in his homeland, SyriaTurki Al-Dakhil
Dr. Tarabichi honestly and objectively speaks about his criticism of Jabri, which began with the latter’s writings on the Brethren of Purity from the perspectives of logic and philosophy. Dr. Tarabichi embarked on a journey of finding books on history to trace Jabri’s footnotes and he did a critique of him in over thousands of pages.
“I will frankly say this as after spending a quarter of a century reading Jabri’s books and reviews and reading hundreds of references on Muslim, Christian and Greek heritage and whatever writings are required to address his writing. I admit to him and to you that I benefitted a lot from him and that he forced me to rebuild my cultural heritage. I owe him a lot despite all the criticism I made against him”, Dr. Tarabichi wrote.
Dr. Tarabichi, whose name is associated with Jabri for critiquing his works, always insisted on restructuring his vision and examining and analyzing them. He even revolted against the suggestions he himself made.
Not resigning himself to closed facts and vision, he questioned his own thought that allowed himself to revisit ideas consistently. He allowed himself to become a rebel against himself by criticizing and questioning his own approaches. This is what makes authors great and influential and this is what has distinguished Dr. Tarabichi from the rest.
Dr. Tarabichi, who believed in writing as an outlet and as a means to change society’s obsolete ideas, feels great pain over the disastrous crisis in his homeland, Syria.
He wrote: “My paralysis from writing, I who has done nothing in life other than to write, is tantamount to death. But in all cases, this is a small death considering what great death might be, and which is the death of the homeland.”
This article was first published by Al-Bayan newspaper on Mar. 09, 2016.
Turki Al-Dakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.