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Mīšīl ʿAflaq’s Thought between Nationalism and Socialism

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This article analyses and describes the political thought of Mīšīl ʿAflaq, the founder—together with Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn al-Bīṭār—and the main ideologue of the Arab Baʿṯ Socialist Party (Ḥizb al-Baʿṯ al-ʿarabī al-ištirākī).1 Mīšīl ʿAflaq was an atypical figure in his contemporary Middle Eastern society, who differ from the strongmen that typified his era such as Ǧamāl ʿAbd al-Nāṣer and Qaḏḏāfī. He was an intellectual, a philosopher, who, with his ideas of Panarabism and Arab socialism affected more than a generation of Arab youth. His dream of Arab Unity became a reality from 1958-1961 with the merger of Egypt and Syria into the United Arab Republic, and the Panarabist Party he created became one of the key players in Middle East from the 1940s onwards.This paper, after sketching a brief biography of Mīšīl ʿAflaq, focuses on his understanding of Nationalism and Arab Socialism, on which his ideology is grounded. By connecting these two ideas, he created a monist ideology in which the mission of Arab Unity is both the starting point and the final goal.

Affiliations: 1: Università di Genova


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