Fouad Ajami (1945–2014)

Fouad Ajami, author, teacher, public intellectual, died yesterday at 68. His work will remain vital for those wishing to understand the Arab world of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Published on: June 23, 2014
Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a member of the TAI editorial board. He is the author of The Road to Global Prosperity (Simon and Schuster.)
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  • Curious Mayhem

    Another giant gone 🙁

  • Corlyss

    I didn’t always agree with his take on things, but I always thought him insightful and worth reading. I never thought Bernard Lewis would outlive Ajami. The Cosmos is out of kilter today.

    • fandango

      This is not even disgusting.

  • Anthony

    Fouad Ajami was born in Lebanon to a Shiite Muslim family – since his 1981 book, he was a go to source for many public intellectuals looking for additional Arab context. Fouad Ajami provided thoughtful and insightful commentary on Middle East. May he rest in peace.

  • Pete

    I don’t get it. The author writes, “His [Ajami] clear-eyed reading of the pathologies of the Arab world can seem to sit awkwardly with his support for the war in Iraq and his high hopes for the Arab Spring. ”

    If this guy knew so much about his fellow Arabs, how could he ever have had high hopes for the Arab Spring. Any two-bit bookmaker in Vegas would have given odds against the so-called Arab Spring being fruitful.

    The answer may be that the Ivory Tower of academia is filled more with wishful thinking covered with hot air than objective analysis.

    • FriendlyGoat

      A lot of people had high hopes that a liberated Iraq, and/or other countries of the Arab Spring, would go democratic, go secular, go progressive. Very few people understood that a saturation of Islam—wherever a saturation of Islam exists— will not permit those results.

    • If you actually read The Foreginer’s Gift (as opposed to relying on summaries of it). you’ll see that the thrust of his argument is that Iraqis had been given an opportunity to make their country into something decent and viable — hence the title. In that, he was right and in the book he tries to balance hope and fear over the eventual outcome.

      I haven’t read Dream Palace of the Arabs yet, but I have read some of the essays on which it was built. He saw the self-delusive nature of Arab nationalism more clearly than most in the Arab world, and many in the Western world. He was a smart man who expressed his observations wonderfully. Hail and farewell; he will be missed.

  • Rest in God’s peace, Dr Ajami

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