258 Pages
English
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Political and Social Thought in Africa

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258 Pages
English

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The essays collected together in this book reflect the author's varied experiences in the realms of politics and social struggle; he notes that they cannot be separated from his other experiences in his country, Egypt, over the years. These experiences extend from popular culture or folklore, through the wider political world of African liberation politics, to the Committee for the Defense of National Culture.
This book is like a long trip through African culture from the 1950s to the beginning of the 21st century. These essays will most likely provoke a lot of memories, sweet and bitter; with maybe the bitter ones as the more lasting. The author notes that it appears as if the only relationship that seems to have mattered, for a long time, for the Egyptians with the rest of Africa was the river Nile, which joins the country to ten other countries, while a vast desert stands in-between. Such separation ignores the ancient relations between Pharaonic Egypt and the rest of Africa, and the role of Egypt in supporting many liberation movements on the continent.
The author has set himself some tough questions in this book: Is it legitimate today to use race to sub-divide the African continent? Can this, moreover, be simply done as if race is ahistorical or an idealistic concept of identities? Or are we going to talk about Arabism in Egypt, Libya or Maghreb as if it were an identity gained with the advent of the Arabs, implying that these were 'lands with no people' - a sort of 'No Man's Land?' Or was this a fragile space that could not confront the invading empire? Or will Arabism equate with Bantuism or negroism sometimes, and Hausa and Swahili cultures at other times? These are the types of issues that Helmi Sharawy examines in this very important book.
Experiences that inform this book began with the author's first encounter in March 1956, with some African youths who were in Cairo for higher studies or as representatives of liberation movements with whom he worked as an intermediary with the Egyptian national state, which work left on him an everlasting impression.

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Published 29 December 2014
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EAN13 9782869786134
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Political and Social Thought in Africa
Political and Social Thought in Africa
Helmi Sharawy
With an introduction by Samir Amin
Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa DAKAR
©CODESRIA 2014 Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop, Angle Canal IV BP 3304 Dakar, CP 18524, Senegal Website: www.codesria.org ISBN: 978-2-86978-586-1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission from CODESRIA.
Typesetting: Alpha Ousmane Dia Cover Design: Ibrahima Fofana
Distributed in Africa by CODESRIA Distributed elsewhere by African Books Collective, Oxford, UK Website: www.africanbookscollective.com
The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) is an independent organisation whose principal objectives are to facilitate resea rch, promote research-based publishing and create multiple forums geared towards the exchange of views and information among African researchers. All these are aimed at reducing the fragmentation of research in the continent through the creation of thematic research networks that cut across linguistic and regional boundaries.
CODESRIA publishesAfrica Development, the longest standing Africa based social science journal;Afrika Zamani, a journal of history; theAfrican Sociological Review; theAfrican Journal of International Affairs;Africa Review of Booksand theJournal of Higher Education in Africa. The Council also co-publishes theAfrica Media Review; Identity, Culture and Politics: An Afro-Asian Dialogue;The African Anthropologistand theAfro-Arab Selections for Social Sciences. The results of its research and other activities are also disseminated through its Working Paper Series, Green Book Series, Monograph Series, Book Series, Policy Briefs and the CODESRIA Bulletin. Select CODESRIA publications are also accessible online at www.codesria.org.
CODESR IA would like to express its gratitude to the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NOR AD), the Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA), the French Ministry of Cooperation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Open Society Foundations (OSFs), TrustAfrica, UNESCO, UN Women, the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the Government of Senegal for supporting its research, training and publication programmes.
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Prefacevii .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Introduction: Alternative to the Neoliberal System of Globalisation and MilitarismSamir Amin1 .................................................................................................................................................................................................
PART 1 Times of Confrontation
 1. Arab-African Relations from Liberation to Globalisation 17 .......................................................  2. Mohammad Fayek: African Memories of the July Revolution 27 ........................................  3. Abdel Malek Ouda: Egyptian Nationalism and Africa 41 ...............................................................  4. Mehdi Ben Barka: From Bandung to Havana 47 . ........................................................................................  5. Israel: A Sub-imperialist Power in the Third World 55 ........................................................................
PART 2 Times of Interactions  6. The Heritage of African-language Manuscripts written in Arabic Characters (Ajami) 77 ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................  7. E. W. Blyden: The Modern African Voyage to Egypt and the Levant 91 ...................  8. Mahmood Mamdani: A Rebel from Dar es Salaam 99 ..........................................................................  9. The Sudanese Issue: The View from the South 111 ................................................................................. 10. African Renaissance in the Experience of the New Anti-apartheid Regime 141 ........................................................................................................................................................................................................
PART 3 Times of Ideas
11. Culture and Intellectuals: Challenging Globalisation 159 ............................................................... 12. Frantz Fanon and the African Revolution Revisited at the time of Globalisation 171 ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 13. Re-reading Amilcar Cabral: National Culture and Identity in the Age of Globalisation 189 ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 14. The End of Anthropology: The African Debate on the Universality of Social Research and its ‘Indigenisation’ – An Essay Dedicated to Archie Mafeje 199 ................................................................................................................................................................................... 15. Samir Amin: Coming Late to the Arab World 211 .................................................................................. 16. Not an Autobiography of the Author 223 ............................................................................................................. Bibliography 237 ........................................................................................................................................................................................................
Preface
The contributions included in the present volume do not merit the descrip-tion of an anthology of political and social thought in Africa, but rather some views on political and social thought, as I believe thought to be a constitu-ent of cultural interactions in society, whether such interactions concern past and present history, geography, North or South, or even interactions of social struggles between classes or ethnicities. Thus, I was happier with another ti-tle under which some of these contributions appeared earlier, viz, ‘Afro-Arab Times’. This title was chosen because the work appeared after a wide discus-sion with a number of African intellectuals who believed Africa was not just a continent, nor was it one cultural whole, but rather a mass of interactions or struggles, foremost among which has been the cauldron of Arab-African relations over a long period of time. Indeed, this book shows a keen interest in such interactions, as exemplified by the chapters in the first part of the book. However, the reader may note that I have restricted my observations and assessments of such interactions to my personal experiences, in the course of my relations with Arab and African colleagues over a period of more than fifty years. My experiences began with my first encounter in March 1956, in the premises of the African League in Cairo, with some African youths who came to Cairo for higher studies or as representatives of African liberation move-ments, who were carrying out active national struggles in their countries and had come to Cairo to gain access to the outer world and evade the blockade of the colonial powers. Indeed, spending almost two decades of my young life as an intermediary between such liberation movements and the Egyptian national state left an indelible mark that I shall never forget. Readers may also note that I have taken them round the world of thought and action, though I have confined myself to my personal experiences with the persons I speak of, from Amilcar Cabral and Archie Mafeje to Samir Amin and Abdel Malek Ouda. Such encounters took place over the long period from the celebration of the independence of Tanganyika in 1961, followed
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Political and Social Thought in Africa
by that of Kenya, then the meetings of the Coordinating Committee for the Liberation of the Colonies, held in Accra and Dar es Salaam in 1970-73. Such encounters also saw the creation of the African Society in Egypt as a continu-ation of the African League, and the African Society for Political Science in Dar es Salaam in 1973. I also followed the creation of CODESRIA in Dakar in 1973. During all these movements across the continent, I felt the deep effect of the thoughts of Cabral, Du Bois, Samir Amin and Mamdani all over the place, just as I felt the great shudder of joy with the fall of the abominable system of apartheid in South Africa, and the project of renaissance offered by Thabo Mbeki. I also felt the thrill of the end of the Sudanese civil war which meant that the point of view of the Southern Popular Front prevailed over the coercive policies of the North. It fulfilled my own feelings of fraternity towards the South after a very rich personal experience with the intellectual circles at Juba University in the early 1980s. Immediately after, I had a similarly rich experience in the Arab League Education Culture and Science Organization in Tunis that put me on the track of a rich treasure of African literature written in Arabic letters (Ajami), and also the track of the journey of the black African Blyden into the Arab World. As for my experience with African-Arab culture during the years of the Arab and African Research Centre, hopefully these may well need a whole book, one day. This long trip with the African culture from the 1950s to these begin-st nings of the 21 century is apt to provoke many memories, sweet and bitter, with maybe the bitter ones as the more lasting. Such bitter memories are not personal ones but rather stem from ignoring our rich Egyptian culture as if it is not a part of the cultures of the African peoples, thereby making us feel as if we do not belong to the continent. It seems as if the only relation was that the river Nile joins us with ten African countries, while a vast desert stands between us and the rest of Africa. Such feelings of separation ignore the an-cient relations between Pharaonic Egypt and negro Africa, the Egyptian role in suppressing the slave trade, and in supplying active aid to many African lib-eration movements. I regret my inability to add to this volume an account of the thoughts of many African cultural leaders with whom I was privileged to have personal acquaintance, such as Cheikh Anta Diop, Joseph Ki-Zerbo and Walter Rodney. I believe the mass of countries of the South that are striving earnestly to achieve their full emancipation must by necessity strengthen their inter-relations across the river valleys of the Nile, the Niger and the Congo.
Preface
ix
The materials of this book took me on a trek of varied experiences in the realms of politics and social struggle, but they cannot be separated from my other experiences in my own country. These extend from popular culture or folklore, to the wide world of African liberation politics, and to the Commit-tee for the Defence of National Culture. So, my conclusion in this volume takes the form of a kind of autobiography, indicating some other modest contributions to the general cultural arena in Egypt. In all the sufferings I went through all along my hard and strenuous path, the supporting role of my small family, Tawheeda, Ayman and Mai, is more than can be covered in such a brief preface as this. Helmi Sharawy