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IN MEMORIAM: Ibrahim Abu-Lughod 1929-2001.

IBRAHIM ABU-LUGHOD, one of the original founders of Arab Studies Quarterly and its parent organization, the Association of Arab-American University Graduates, passed away on 23 May, in Ramallah, Palestine, after a long illness.

Professor Abu-Lughod exercised an enormous influence on the AAUG and the intellectual direction of this journal. He will be sorely missed by his numerous friends, students, fellow Palestininan activists and an entire generation of Arab-American scholars. The current Editorial Board of ASQ feels a special loss because it was he who mentored and encouraged us as young academics. We will miss the love, kindness and wisdom he gave.

The Guest Editors of this Special Issue would not have conducted their academic research in Sudan, nor would they have been co-founders of the Sudan Studies Association without Abu-Lughod's support and encouragement, including a visit with them in Khartoum in 1972.

Abu-Lughod's entire life was seared by the Palestinian experience. Like many of his generation, he was a child of the nakba. In fact, he graduated from the Aamiriyah school at Jaffa in the fateful year of 1948. He felt deeply the tragedies of the Palestinian people and their historic misfortunes. He always reminisced about Jaffa, the pearl of the Mediterranean, and his own birthplace. He also lived through the 1982 Israeli siege of Beirut and came out of that experience, climaxed by the Sabra and Shatila massacre, incensed at the Arab and international betrayal of Palestine.

It was Abu-Lughod, along with some of the most prominent leaders of the Arab-American intellectual community like Edward Said, Hisham Sharabi, Naseer Aruri, Michael Suleiman, Elaine Hagopian, M. Cherif Bassiouni, Fouad Moghrabi, and Hassan Haddad who founded AAUG following the disaster of June 1967. Arab Studies Quarterly emerged under the direction of its first editors, Abu-Lughod and Edward Said as the voice of Arab-American academics who sought to reclaim a position of authority in defining major Arab issues in the American environment. Thus, thanks mainly to the vision of AbuLughod and his colleagues, ASQ was founded with the mission of providing space for the expression of Arab and fair-minded Western views on the complex issues of Palestine and the Arab World.

Abu-Lughod was also a founder of the Chicago-based Palestine Human Rights Campaign, a religious and secular coalition dedicated to the exposure of the cruel fate of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. He worked with Rev. Don Wagner, Rev. Darrel Meyers, Professor Rosemary Ruether, Professor Francis Boyle, and others to build this grass- roots organization.

Abu-Lughod's home academic institution was Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, where he served for many years as the Chair of the Department of Political Science. There he mentored future Middle East scholars like Deborah Gerner and Mark Tessler, and where he produced his best published work. His publications included many books, articles and opinion pieces in Arabic and English, including: The Arab Rediscovery of Europe; The Arab-Israeli Confrontation of June 1967; Invasion of Lebanon, co-edited with Iqbal Ahmad; Palestinian Rights: Affirmation and Denial; Settler Regimes in South Africa and the Arab World. His edited work, The Transformation of Palestine (with a forward by Arnold J. Toynbee) remains a classic work to this day.

But no listing of titles will ever do justice to this eloquent and passionate scholar of Palestine. Nor would his printed works give an adequate measure of the unprecedented influence that he exercised on the lives and minds of Arab and American scholars alike. Suffice it to say that his determination to maintain contact with Palestine drove him back to Ramallah and Bir Zeit University where he worked in his later years on improving the educational standards of Arab schools in the nascent state of his homeland.

In Abu-Lughod's obituary which appeared in Al-Quds daily, mention was made that he will be laid to rest at Jaffa after prayers at the Ajami Mosque. For all of those whose lives were touched by this extraordinary scholar and restless Palestinian spirit, there must be some comfort in the knowledge that at least one Palestinian has made it back to Jaffa. We remain confident, however, that he will not be the last.

The Editorial Board

Arab Studies Quarterly
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Publication:Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 22, 2001
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