Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought

Editorial

Dear readers!

The Arab world is facing major challenges. Only with new ideas, concepts and approaches will this part of the world be able to achieve what many others have enjoyed for a long time: equality of rights and obligations, a life without fear, a life in dignity, which guarantees equal economic and social opportunities for everyone, regardless of tribal, religious or ethnic affiliation, in other words, a life in which not only the basic needs are met.

As you already know the Ibn Rushd Fund has set itself the task of recognising and encouraging free thinkers in the Arab world – pioneers, whose ideas and courage sparked progressive change . Having for the last three years already devoted itself to change and transition in the Arab world - the last Ibn Rushd awards were presented to the blog al-Hiwar al-Mutamaddin, to the Tunisian journalist Sihem Bendsedrine and to the Syrian lawyer and human rights activist Razan Zaitouneh – the fund resumes this focus in its magazine Minbar.

This issue presents selected voices, opinions, feedback and accounts  of  the Arab revolution  from different personalities - writers, journalists, politicians, teachers:

  • The issue begins with a philosophical consideration of the Palestinian Dr. Khaled Saifi, Professor of Alternative Medicine, about the nature of the relationship of an individual with a groupand the awareness that emerges.
  • The Syrian journalist Abdallah Tourkmani, who lives in Tunisia, delivers a testimony of the Tunisian revolution.
  • The Lebanese journalist Sobhi Ghandour, director of the El Hewar Centre, Centre for the Arab Dialogue in Washington, underlines the fact that the essential result of the revolution was to break the legitimacy of the rulers who were previously untouchable.
  • In an interview one of the leading proponents of nonviolent resistance in the Arab world, Sami Kilani, Dean of the Faculty of Education at Najah University in Nablus/Palestine, speaks about the peaceful forms of protest during the Arab revolutions.
  • A further statement comes from a member of the new Egyptian parliament, Amr al-Shobaki. Al-Shobaki debates the relationship between revolution and state – with historical overview on the most relevant examples of revolutions that ended in deposing its heads (the French revolution, communism in Russia and China, Islamic revolution in Iran). All these rebellions did not immediately lead to democracy for the people. Al-Shobaki refers to the revolution in Egyptand indicates that the relationship between the Egyptians and their state was always problematic because of the lack of confidence in government. The biggest danger, al-Shobaky warns, would be when an incompetent government takes over.
  • This issue also contains an insightful essay by journalist Hakam Abdel-Hadi "The genie is out of the bottle" on the parties that influenced the revolution and post-revolution.
  • And it also contains a presentation of the Egyptian project "Choral Utopia" by Faiha Abdulhadi.
  • We will end our issue with the famous poem of the Egyptian poet Ahmad Fouad Najm "Mubarak addressing the people" which became famous at the beginning of the revolution.

In upcoming issues Minbar will further keep an eye on this subject - the revolution and transition in the Arab world.

Authors are welcome to submit their articles to the editorial panel.

We wish you a good reading!

20. March 2013

Abier Bushnaq

Editor-in-chief