The Nature of Tyranny and the Devastating Results of Oppression
Abdul Rahman Al-Kawakibi
Amer Chaikhouni (translation)
Hardback, 152 pages
A pathbreaking analysis of tyranny by one of the 19th century’s most prominent Arab intellectuals
The Nature of Tyranny was written and published at the dawn of the twentieth century by Abdul Rahman Al-Kawakibi, one of the pioneering thinkers of the Arab world. More than a century later, another Arab awakening exploded, led by a new generation of youth who chanted Al-Kawakibi’s words in revolutionary cries from Aleppo, his hometown, to Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Today this seminal text appears in English for the first time, with a foreword from Leon T. Goldsmith offering an overview of Al-Kawakibi’s intellectual contributions. The first chapter of the text provides a definition of tyranny, presenting it as akin to a sickness or malaise that seeps into all classes of society, leaving behind decay. The following seven chapters apply this conception of tyranny to what Al-Kawakibi sees as society’s crucial elements: religion, knowledge, honour, economy, ethics and progress. Having laid a theoretical framework for understanding the centrality of tyranny, its characteristics and its devastating effects, Al-Kawakibi concludes by setting forth a brief programme for remedying the ‘disease’ of tyranny. The final chapter outlines another book in which he had planned to elaborate upon his ideas–but, ultimately, his fate arrived too soon.