|Anouar Abdel Malek|
In the course of the 1960s and 1970s, Abdel-Malek became one of the foremost commentators and critics of social and socio-political developments in the Arab world, including his native Egypt. One of his most famous books is a study on the role of the military in Egypt (Egypt: Military Society). Against the background of the aftermath of last year's Arab Spring, the subject has not lost any of its currency and relevance.
As indicated by his study of Orientalism, Abdel-Malek's interests were much wider; encompassing the Third World-at-large. In that sense his work formed part of the now obsolete discourse of Tiers-Mondisme, somewhat awkwardly translated as 'Third-Worldism'. This strand of thinking emerged from the 'Spirit of Bandung', set free at the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung. Tiers-Mondisme found its political translation in the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, which -- aside from the conference host, Indonesian President Sukarno -- also included among its founders, Egypt's Gamal Abdel-Nasser, the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito, and China's Zhou En Lai.
|Syed Hussein Alatas|
What united Abdel-Malek and Alatas was a critical attitude towards the overeasy dismissal of non-Western ways of thinking as intellectually less rigorous than the European tradition of reason which began its global spread from the Enlightenment Era onwards. The fruits of the collaboration led to the introduction of a notion of 'endogenous intellectual creativity' (For a comparative study of Abdel-Malek and Alatas, see Mona Abaza's Debates on Islam and Knowledge in Malaysia and Egypt).