Art and Ideology (pt. 2)


Ziad the Leftist

Given his iconic status in Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine, surprisingly few academic studies have been written about Rahbani. Apart from Christopher Stone’s biography of Fairuz and the Rahbani brothers (Ziad’s father and uncle, who composed music for Fairuz), which contains a chapter about Ziad, there are two Lebanese masters theses, analyzing the fan culture sur- rounding Ziad Rahbani and his role as a political artist, respectively.26 In addition, cultural critics like Fawwaz Traboulsi and Ahmad Beydoun have written extensively about Rahbani in Lebanese magazines and newspapers. Most of this work is concerned with the signi cance of Rahbani in Lebanese social life. His stature as one of the great contemporary Arab popular artists was established in the rst place by his connection to the Rahbani family, but also by the way in which he challenged his parents’ musical heritage. In his early plays, he developed a musical style and texts that broke with the nostalgic nationalism of the Rahbani brothers’ musical plays. By giving voice to ordinary people—peddlers, unemployed, small business owners, and drifters—he created a popular theater, and a popular song, together with the movement of abovementioned “popular singers.” Like Marcel Khalife, Rahbani’s songs relayed a love for simple people and a belief in the humanistic value of music. At the same time, both Khalife and Rahbani also wanted to renew Arab music in a way that drew on the roots of popular taste. Indeed, the popular song of the 1970s was a reaction against the for- malities of earlier Arabic music with its big orchestras performed by singers such as Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab and Umm Kulthum. In that sense the popular song sought a new aesthetics and a new sound, and crucially a new politics. It sought to bring music to the people and adopt their language and worldview, but it also reserved the right to innovate. Compared to the popular song group, however, Rahbani’s lyrics from the very beginning had a much more sardonic tone and his music was less traditional, less folky, employing jazz and funk along with the oud.

Despite his tongue-in-cheek lyrics and his musical innovations, Rahbani has arguably remained committed to the original artistic ideals of conveying “the popular.” For him, the predilection for all things “popular” translates into artistic choices that could be summed up as Ziadian realism. Ziadian realism is an artistic voice that relays ordinary people’s skepticism toward grand narratives of politics and religion in Lebanon. Everyday, unpreten- tious (o en grammatically incorrect) expressions de ne Rahbani’s realism. is realism also takes shape through thematic focus on corruption, social class, and “anti-romantic relationships.”27 Relationships in Rahbani’s songs tend to be half-hearted, sometimes based on interests rather than honest emotions, and o en fail. Politically, he sided with the “popular” National Movement, the coalition of le ist, Muslim, and Palestinian forces based in West Beirut. His own move from East to West Beirut in the summer of 1976, one year into the civil war, became a way for the National Movement to demonstrate that they had a popular base. Rahbani, for a time at least, became a cultural legitimation for the Lebanese le . At that point, in 1976, he was already known as a popular artist with a broad appeal who was not afraid to challenge the cultural and political establishment. His songs and plays established his artistic reputation. Whereas the radio show Ba‘dna Taybin ’Oul Allah (We are Still Alive, ank God) cemented his political mark. In the late 1970s, he teamed up with the LCP to form a popular theater group. is plan never materialized because of disagreement over the artistic line and lack of funding from the party. e intention shows, however, Rahbani’s strong political engagement with Lebanese communism at this stage of his career, which was directly related to his artistic agenda. at agenda was his original wish to speak with the voice of the people and produce art for the people.28

Despite his communist leanings, Rahbani’s songs are never ideological in any dogmatic sense of the word. Nor has he ever wanted to con ne his audience to a particular section of Lebanese society. is was the exact reason why his move to West Beirut could be used for propaganda reasons: he had listeners and fans in all sectors of the country. Rather, his ambition has been to create art that portrays characters, scenes, and emotions readily familiar to all Lebanese. His ability to critique the National Movement’s policies in the 1980 play Film Amriki Tawil re ects his relative political independence even during the period of direct support from the LCP.29 Whereas his three rst musical plays center on class division in Lebanon, Film Amriki Tawil strikes a more cynical tone. Set in an insane asylum during the war, the play consists of o en hilarious dialogue between patients and the medical sta who treat them. the patients include the revolutionary, the sectarian, the extremely neurotic, the drug addict, and other stereotypes, all of them obsessed with the war. e doctors diagnose their ramblings as insanity, but it is clear that the whole country, not the patients, have gone insane. e Lebanese here are implicated in the war, but fail to grasp it in its totality. e absurd dialogue mirrors a common feeling that the Lebanese were living in a grossly extended act of absurd theater. Americans are to blame, but so are the Lebanese themselves. For some of my informants in the 2000s, this absurd theater, this “long American lm” of unscrupulous politicians, political and moral corruption, foreign meddling in Lebanese a airs, and permanent instability, continues today. erefore, the words of the 1980s play resonated strongly with them.

In other words, pre-cooked political messages are not the reason why le ists (yasariyyun) feel a particular attachment to Rahbani’s musical universe.30 In fact, Film Amriki Tawil’s critique resonates with Lebanese of all political persuasions, as Abou Ghaida has shown.31 e fun poked at revolutionary, sectarian, and overly ideological discourse in the play is a response to the simple messages that were indeed available in the form of song (and other cultural expressions) during the war. ese war songs would defend a particular faction’s worldview and celebrate its heroes, be they from the pro-Palestinian le or the Christian right.32 But although a few of Rahbani’s songs, such as “Al-Muqawama al-Wataniyya al-Lubnaniyya” from Ana Mush Ka r, come close to this category, they cannot explain what As‘ad AbuKhalil calls the le ist “Ziad cult.”33 is cult is not simply due to an ideological identi cation and sense of ownership springing from Rahbani’s long a liation with the le . Rather, I will suggest, Rahbani is an embodiment of and an exponent for certain human qualities. My own observations from years of eldwork in Lebanon con rm this view. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I experienced how young people would speak and sing along to Rahbani plays like the 1987 Bi-l-Nisba li-Bukra Shu and Film Amriki Tawil when they were played aloud in bars and Internet cafes. “Ziadspeak” is a cool, drawling accent that emulates Rahbani’s expressions and is o en adopted by young Lebanese who wish to appear cool. ey borrow his voice to nd their own. Despite the fact that Rahbani was as old, or older, than their parents, he clearly stood for something eternally youthful, namely rebellion, irony, and distain for tradition, in short, sticking it to the man. Rahbani is a perfect role model for a young self-styled rebel—an adolescent role that o en comes with ideological identi cation as a “leftist.” I write “le ist” in quotation marks because being yasari does not always involve political party membership. O en, attitude, orientation, and cultural identity are more important markers. erefore, Rahbani’s admirers celebrate and emulate him not for his political songs, but simply for being who he is. As Bardawil34 notes, unlike other committed artists such as Marcel Khalife and Khalid al-Habr, Rahbani never wrote songs in support of Palestine, Cuba, or other political causes. In his journalism, Rahbani has made it clear that he is pro-Palestinian, against sectarianism, and supports social justice. Later he would veer toward supporting Hizballah, too, under the sway of many fellow le ists. But his songs never address these issues bombastically or head on. He tells stories about the Lebanese, which is unquestionably part of his appeal as an artist.

Ana Mush Kafir

As mentioned, there are some unambiguous examples of Rahbani’s engagement with the le in his artistic production. e standout album in that respect is the 1985 classic Ana Mush Kafir (I Am Not a Heathen). Originally produced in honor of the sixtieth anniversary of the Lebanese Communist Party, the album is atypical for Rahbani in its overtly political lyrics. In my experience from fieldwork in leftist milieus in Lebanon since the early 2000s, this album has remained a favorite for most young activists as well as older ones. They stress its committed feel (jaw multazim), but also its musical qualities that both render “how the war really was” and “how it felt for people to live this war,” according to informants.

The album’s title track has become one of Rahbani’s signature songs. To the sound of a slow oud, the lyrics defend the singer from accusations of being a “blasphemer,” kafir. As it transpires in the song, kafir should not be understood in an Islamic sense (sometimes translated as in del or blasphemer), but rather as a metaphor for injustice. In this way, Rahbani secularizes the Islamic idea of lack of belief (kufr) and branding others as unbelievers (takfir) by turning the religious term into a worldly term that relates directly to social problems. Belief, in turn, is belief in the power of addressing inequality and injustice. “I am not a heathen,” Rahbani sings,

But hunger is heathen Disease is heathen
Poverty is heathen
and humiliation is heathen

In other words, society with its ills and its intractable civil war is a product of social injustice, not sectarian or religious issues. e song elaborates on this injustice: “I am not a heathen / but what do you want me to do / when all of the heathen things combine in me.” Here, the terms of social injustice are internalized by ordinary people, who struggle with the conditions of life in Lebanese society where “those who pray on Sunday [Christians] / and those who pray on Friday [Muslims] / keep plowing [exploiting] us through the whole week.” e exploiters come from all religions and all sects. “Just imagine, what a joke!” the song continues. “He’s saying that he’s religious and I’m the heathen!” Instead, the so-called religious person (huwa yilli dayyin) is instructed, to “take another look at the holy books / Take another look at the words of God.” I am not heathen, Rahbani insists,

But the country is heathen
I’m stuck in my home and unable to get out [because of the war] You’re eating my food right out my mouth
while your food is right in front of you, man!
And if I’m ungrateful you say that I’m heathen.

The truth about exploitation and injustice should be announced loud and clear “to all the Western countries” and notified to “all police stations” with the message: “I’m not a heathen!” “You’re putting it on me,” the song ends —“you being the shaykh of the heathens / Amen.”

In the final line, the shaykh (a term that refers to both political and religious leaders in Lebanon) is exposed as the “shaykh of the heathens.” If we translate this to the secular framework of the song means, “shaykh of the heathens” means the upholder of injustice. True to Ziadian realism, the song could be called a secular prayer or invocation, ending with an amen that is both incisive and satirical. e basic message in the song is that certain Lebanese political and religious leaders use religious identity to maintain social injustice producing poverty and, eventually, violence.

The themes from the title track recur in several of the songs on the album Ana Mush Kafir, such as “‘al-Nizam” (To the System), that mocks the idea that there is a system or social order in wartime Lebanon, and “Bihannik” (I Congratulate You), a biting satire of political leadership. “I really congratulate you,” Rahbani sings, “for proper stances in politics / And for everything that’s called tactics . . . All my people are electing you, therefore I also have to congratulate you.” Rahbani in “Bihannik” is basically saying to the political leaders: “You’ve ruined my country. Well done.” But there is also a realization that people follow their leaders and are given to religion (“People are back to God / the pious life . . . and you [addressed to the leader] are making this happen”). Other songs, like “Shi ‘Ajib” (A Strange Thing) and “Shu ‘Adha ma Bada” (What Happened, Happened), contain haunting renditions of the civilian experience of being under the bombs in the mid-1980s, deprived of basic security, food, and shelter in wartime Lebanon. While this may sound grim, the songs are brilliantly crafted. e lyrics combine images of the civil war with subtle dark humor and clever wordplay. In “‘al-Nizam,” the sounds of clatter, loud arguments, bombing, and shouting toward the end of the song gradually give way to a jungle-like chant and the verdict that “this [Lebanese society in the war] is not a system.” Beirut here is a concrete jungle, full of strange tribes and dangerous animals, where the only nizam is the law of the jungle. But there is a political solution to the conflict, which is the one the Lebanese le proposes: deconfessionalization, resistance, and social justice. e album ends with a slow hymn sung by a young female to al-muqawama al-wataniyya al-lubnaniyya, the “Lebanese national resistance,” the le -wing liberation forces fighting Israel in the south, which Hizballah co-opted and superseded later in the decade.

The social critic and uncompromising artist in Ana Mush Kafir is the Rahbani that his leftist fans prefer to identify with. ese songs represent the ideal of committed art, where social norms are challenged while sympathy and support for political vanguardism as well as the struggle of ordinary people are delivered with musical craftsmanship and poetic verve. For many leftist fans of Rahbani, his postwar production has not lived up to these ideals, with the exception of his last collaboration with singer Joseph Saqr on the 1995 album Bi ma Innu (Seeing at). Even here, a more nostalgic, backward-looking tone dominates, where his attachment to the LCP and the National Movement are subject to rumination and bittersweet memories rather than any call for action. Samba-influenced albums like Monodose (2001) le many old fans indifferent. Although Rahbani’s postwar production also counts highly acclaimed co-productions with Fairuz, not least 1991’s Kifak Inta (How Are You?) and 2010’s Ay Amal (Yes, ere Is Hope), it has attracted less interest, certainly compared to wartime work that has remained classic and continued to give ideological pointers to leftists.

Since the 2006 war between Hizballah and Israel, Rahbani has positioned himself in favor of the March 8 alliance and Hizballah, becoming a regular columnist in the pro-Hizballah daily al-Akhbar. e 2006 war, and even more so the ongoing con ict in Syria since 2011, have accentuated rifts among leftists in Lebanon. Some ally with Hizballah and its support of Bashar al-Asad’s regime. Others side with the March 14 movement. Some have positioned themselves in between. People index their reactions to these dramatic events in diverging definitions of secularism, neocolonialism, liberalism, and democracy. In a situation of ideological fragmentation on the le , Rahbani’s clear political position in this internal Lebanese conflict, which has regional and global rami cations, has turned some admirers off his music and person altogether. But he nevertheless retains a broad fan base, and his early music remains national lore. In order to understand his broad appeal, we must view him not just as an artist of the Lebanese left, but also as a chronicler of what I call the liberal subject.


Ziad the Liberal

Most research on liberalism in the Middle East has focused on identifying strains of thought that observers and scholars call liberal despite the dominance of illiberal secular regimes and illiberal Islamist oppositions since World War II. Following Albert Hourani, who wrote about Arab thought in the liberal age without necessarily analyzing self-styled Arab liberalists or liberals, Charles Kurzman, Roel Meijer, Michaelle Browers, and the late Christoph Schumann, among others, have identified liberal elements in other ideological traditions.35 ey link calls for economic liberalization and democratization in Arab nationalist, Marxist, and Islamic thought since 1967 to disillusionment with authoritarianism. Liberalism in this sense appears as an impulse that pervades the entire spectrum of Arab thought and politics, but obviously not without certain limitations. e Muslim Brotherhood struggles to de ne clear dividing lines between ethics, morals, and state law. And communitarianism in its different guises clashes with individual liberty.

Just like Arab leftism, Arab liberalism refers equally to local and global traditions. Liberalism is a political theory of many strains of individualism and common purposes, liberty and distributive justice, free markets and the welfare state.36 In some cultural contexts, such as in the United States, being “liberal” connotes relaxed social norms and le -leaning political opinions. In other contexts, le takes shape as the opposite of liberal. Indeed, many contemporary Arab leftists see a libirali (liberal) intellectual as an apologist for US power in the Middle East hiding under the cover of a pro-Western cultural outlook.37 e group of Arab intellectuals who have embraced liberalism in the 1990s and onward and call themselves the new Arab liberals (al-libiraliyyun al-judud)38 may think they are modern-day incarnations of critical nahda intellectuals, the communist academic AbuKhalil writes. e argument of the likes of Hazim Saghiyya is that fostering individualism is the only way to confront deep-seated authoritarian structures.39 In fact, AbuKhalil contends, their “liberal” political position supports a political project in the region that is deeply illiberal because it invites a continuation of imperialism.40 In this critical le ist terminology, the Saudi media and financial empire, and everything else that willingly or unwillingly works to support American power in the Arab world, is “liberal.” Given these fundamental problems of definition, it often seems easier to de ne liberalism, and the liberal subject, in opposition to illiberalism and illiberal subjects than it is to present a clear definition of liberalism itself. Liberalism on a global scale is not a clearly defined set of rules and regulations. Rather, it is an ideological tradition that straddles ideas ranging from the enlightenment ideals of human liberation as formulated by the rst generation of classical liberal thinkers such as Locke, Kant, and Smith, to the so-called reform liberals of the nineteenth and twentieth century such as John Stuart Mill and John Maynard Keynes, and to various elaborations and innovations in non-Western places.41 Liberal ideas have influenced a variety of legal and political arrangements in Western countries, as well as in formerly colonized countries.

As mentioned, leftism and liberalism have a common genesis in Enlightenment ideals of modernization, freeing the potential of human beings and thus liberating the social world. Perhaps because there is a certain Hegelian ideological consequence between liberalism and the le on the philosophical level, leftist critiques of liberalism often address practices rather than ideas. In postcolonial countries, one recurrent leftist critique points to the illiberal (in the sense of restraining or ignoring the freedom of others) practices of formally liberal countries, both before and after decolonization. is critique is tied to the leftist reproach of Arab liberals as illiberals in disguise. Because the inherently violent practices of colonialism and neocolonialism went, and continue to go, unrecognized by the United States and other Western powers, liberal discourses of democracy promotion, human rights regimes, and other present-day formulations of the spread of enlightened systems of liberal governance clash with reality, so the argument goes. Partly as a result of strong Marxist and post-Marxist influences in area studies and in critical theory, the critique of the “illiberalism of liberalism” has primarily come from critical theory and postcolonial studies. Liberalism in the postcolony is conditioned by what the anthropologist David Scott calls “the tragedy of colonial enlightenment,”42 by which he means the difficult task of forging independent nations free of colonial influence while also adopting a modernizing discourse. As Scott shows in the case of the Caribbean, modernizing reformers in Haiti were striving for independence but at the same time they were essentially what he calls “conscripts of modernity,” for whom the liberal, unbounded self of their former French masters was an ideal. They could not liberate themselves fully, because the colonization was internalized in their very ideals of liberation.

The same could be said about Lebanon. Here, liberal traits such as a free press, free political culture, and free social (and sexual) norms are routinely presented as national traits, sometimes in the guise of metaphors like “Switzerland of the Middle East” or “doormat of the Orient.” These national(ist) stereotypes center on Lebanon’s historical connection to the French colonial masters. Being polyglot, cosmopolitan, and tolerant of differences, the Lebanese have a little bit of the liberal Europe in them, is the idea. Of course, such nationalist ideas sit very uneasily with other stereotypes about Lebanon as a country of fragmentation, civil violence, sectarianism, and fundamentalism.43 Moreover, Lebanese intellectuals around the National Movement, and before them earlier generations of historical materialists, have contested the romanticized view of Lebanese liberalism. For example, Ahmad Beydoun maintains that deeply illiberal power structures hold most ordinary Lebanese in a bind of sectarianism and semi-feudal patron-client relations.44 is critique is also a class analysis, as it posits that the bourgeoisie affect a liberalism that is but a thin veneer over deep-seated injustice. At the same time, leftists in their very conduct and self-appraisal embody certain liberal ideals. They strive to free themselves, both from foreign neocolonial domination and from the “ties that bind” in form of sectarian identity. Indeed, nidal (struggle), istiqlal (independence), and hurriyya (freedom) are keywords from the leftist vocabulary that dovetail with certain liberal principles. As we saw in the analysis of Ana Mush Kafir, the aim of Rahbani’s le ist critique was essentially liberation, not so much from a particular political force (except for Israeli occupation), but from what Arab Marxists commonly would call false consciousness. Liberation from false consciousness—parochial identities and narrow- mindedness—which Rahbani tries to bring about through music, humor, and poetry, would reveal the real root problems of political and economic exploitation and allow people to address them.

The social critique in Ana Mush Ka r can be easily plotted onto a leftist ideological agenda. Many other songs from Rahbani’s archive celebrate freedom on a much more personal level, however, not least the liberating power of love. But Rahbani would not be Rahbani if love songs, too, did not contain wry social critique. In one of his most beloved ballads, the song “Bala wala Shi” (Without Anything Else) from the 1987 album Hudu’ Nisbi, Rahbani invites a girl to sit down with him in the shade—a shade that “belongs to no one.” He sings of a “naked love” stripped of social pretension, without money, land, jewels, mascara, ne clothes, or other decorations involved. “Just you,” he serenades, “without your mother and father, without all the women in the neighborhood, without all this bullshit.” Just you, bala wala shi—without “your friends, the cute ones or the ugly ones,” without anything else but the beloved. “Just come and sit down with me in the shade / this shade belongs to no one / love me and think about it.”

A love a air that is about love and nothing else can be, as in most contexts, very di cult in Lebanon. e song is romantic in its instrumenttalization, but the romance is not just with the girl in question—it is also flirting with the dream that a young Lebanese can transcend village, neighborhood, family, sect, and social background. Implicit in this Romeo and Juliet romance is a social critique of all the bullshit (maskhara) that makes it di cult for people to see each other “without anything else.” Although the song does not speak of sectarian identity but more of economic status, sectarian belonging is o en the biggest hurdle to the realization of a love a air, due to the family status law that makes it di cult to marry outside of one’s sect in Lebanon (even if people often find a way to negotiate these obstacles). Naming all this maskhara in itself is liberating, and draws in the listener as a rebel against these norms, if he or she to any extent enjoys the romance of the song.

Since his comic radio skits during the war and his firrst musical plays, Rahbani has excelled in the genre of witty songs. Sometimes sardonic, as in the songs on Ana Mush Ka r, sometimes poetic as in “Bala wala Shi,” his music is always witty. Wit, humor, irony, and fun, as Asef Bayat points out, subvert the self-regulation of religion and other forms of self-disciplining social order. At stake, Bayat writes, “is not necessarily the disruption of the moral order, as is often claimed, but rather the undermining of the hegemony, the regime of power on which certain strands of moral and political authority rest.”45 Being “spastic,” “loose,” half-drunk, or goofy like Rahbani is in some of his songs and the characters are in his plays, is a slap in the face of social discipline and its attendant norms of behaving, speaking, and interacting. Some of these norms are religious, like the ones that he mocks in Ana Mush Ka r, while at other times he directs his wit at political leaders or the bourgeoisie. Most of the time, his wit is lovingly aimed at what he constructs as typical Lebanese, with their greed, ambitions, pretensions, and stereotypes. His characters stutter, interrupt each other, leave their sentences half-finished, and swear a lot. As opposed to the stylistic perfection of his mother’s earlier music, Rahbani tends to cackle, chatter, and hum over his tracks. is noise adds a sense of informality, which he has at times repeated on his productions for Fairuz, as for example the 1991 record Kifak Inta, where Fairuz is heard chatting in the recording booth on the opening track. As the Lebanese like to say, Ziad Rahbani took Fairuz, Lebanon’s “ambassador to the stars,” down to earth, to the register of everyday life where ordinary people live.46 e wonder of his music is that the invocation of everyday life sparkles with its own Ziadian poetry.


In this article I have tried to approach the overlapping meanings of le ism and liberalism in the context of Lebanese popular culture. One of the points of this exercise has been to challenge the juxtaposition of these two ideological families. e complexities of Ziad Rahbani’s work show that liberal subjects and leftist struggles on the political, social, and cultural level dovetail in modern Arab history. This insight can perhaps help us make sense of the ideological spectrum of liberals, leftists, and secularists opposing Islamists after the Arab uprisings, in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and other Arab countries. It can also help us counter the argument that the Arab uprisings were rooted in liberal thought, or more precisely, the new Arab liberals of the 1990s and 2000s. ese liberals, David Govrin argues in a recent book with reference to Shakir al-Nabulsi’s de nition, attempted to revive Arab values of freedom defined as rationalism, science, open-mindedness, creativity, and progress.47 inkers, journalists, and public intellectuals such as the Lebanese journalist Hazim Saghiyya, the Egyptian sociologist Saad Eddin Ibrahim and the Syrian thinker George Tarabishi had a background in Marxist and Nasserist organizations, but were “reformed” in the 1980s and 1990s by what they perceived to be the failure of the ideas on the le . In the late 1990s and early 2000s several of these new liberals penned the Arab Human Development Reports, which Govrin argues became a blue- print for the uprisings. What Govrin ignores is that the defense of liberties, democracy, human rights, and social and political justice in the Arab world has been carried out equally by Arab Marxists and post-Marxists such as Yasin al-Ha z, Sonallah Ibrahim, Hisham Sharabi, Elias Khoury, and Faysal Darraj. Moreover, Govrin’s argument fails to explain how exactly such abstract intellectual ideas influenced popular mobilization. It requires a leap of faith to accept that intellectual production with limited circulation reflects the opinion and worldview of the millions who took part in the uprisings. While intellectual histories of ideological traditions are important, ethnographic accounts of political culture can help us better understanding the “anatomy of thinking politically,”48 the complex ways in which political thought is shaped between subjective interpretation and social interaction. We must start to appreciate ideologies as essentially variously accentuated reflections on the same shared experience of modernity, and make conceptual space for the zones of overlap that we observe. Engaging with popular art offers a gateway into the nature of ideological debates beyond intellectual and political debate.



26 Bardawil, “Art, War, and Inheritance”; and Abou-Ghaida.
27 Abou-Ghaida, Analyzing the Ziyad Rahbani Phenomenon, 38.
28 Bardawil, “Art, War, and Inheritance,” 70-72.
29 Stone, Popular Culture, 121.
30 Abou-Ghaida, Analyzing the Ziyad Rahbani Phenomenon, 45-48, concurs on this point as

does As‘ad AbuKhalil, “ e Cult of Ziad Rahbani,” al-Akhbar English, 8 October 2012.
31 Abou-Ghaida, Analyzing the Ziyad Rahbani Phenomenon, 34-39.
32 Nada A’war, “ e Political Song in Lebanon, 1970-1986” (master’s thesis, American University

in Beirut, 1989).
33 AbuKhalil, “ e Cult of Ziad Rahbani.”
34 Bardawil, “Art, War, and Inheritance,” 86.
35 For a succinct overview see Meir Hatina, ”Introduction,” in Schumann and Hatina, Arab

Liberal ought A er 1967, 1-20.
36 Meir Hatina, “Arab Liberal Discourse: Old Dilemmas, New Visions,” Middle East Critique

20, no. 1 (2009), 3.
37 As‘ad AbuKhalil, “Sirat al-Libaraliyya al-‘Arabiyya” [ e History of Arab Liberalism],

l-Akhbar, 2 April 2007.
38 Shakir al-Nabulsi, ed., Al-Libiraliyyun al-Judud: Jadal Fikri (Cologne: Manshurat al-Jamal,

39 is position is developed in Hazem Saghie, ed., e Predicament of the Individual in the

Middle East (London: Saqi, 2001).
40 e same argument was made recently by Joseph Massad, spurring a contentious debate.

Joseph Massad, “ e Destructive Legacy of Arab Liberals,” e Electronic Intifada, 30 March

41 Manfred Steger, e Rise of the Global Imaginary: Political Ideologies from the French

Revolution to the Global War on Terror (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).
42 David Scott, Conscripts of Modernity: e Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (Durham, NC:

Duke University Press, 2004).
43 Haugbolle, War and Memory in Lebanon, 23-28.
44 Ahmad Beydoun, “A Note on Confessionalism,” in Lebanon in Limbo, ed. eodor Hanf

and Nawaf Salam (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2003).
45 Asef Bayat, Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East (Stanford, CA:

Stanford University Press 2009), 139.
46 Stone, Popular Culture, 160.
47 David Govrin, e Journey to the Arab Spring: e Ideological Roots of the Middle East

Upheaval in Arab Liberal ought (Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell, 2014), 90-91.
48 Michael Freeden, e Political eory of Political inking: e Anatomy of Practice (Oxford:

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Sune Haugbolle

Sune Haugbolle is Associate Professor of Global Studies at Roskilde University, Denmark.

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