The 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution did not go unnoticed by some Arab intellectuals. The anniversary evoked few positive thoughts, even leading some to regret how enthusiastically they had welcomed the revolution back in 1979. Mouhamad Houjeiri, a Lebanese intellectual and journalist, recalled the occasion through a column, "The Cultural Fascination with the Khomeinist Revolution," published in the Beirut-based Al Modon. He offers a brief recollection of some Lebanese and Arab intellectuals who were fascinated by Khomeini. Importantly among them stands Adonis, whose grand “Salute to Iran’s Revolution” lingers in many intellectual memories. Houjeiri's recollection extended to Western intellectuals who were equally fascinated by Khomeini, and particularly the French philosopher Michel Foucault.
Adonis and Khomeini’s “connection” also appears in another column by the Syrian writer Subhi Hadidi, published in the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi. In his “Beirut’s Modernization and the Refinement of Adonis,” Hadidi criticizes Robyn Creswell’s new book, “City of Beginnings: Poetic Modernism in Beirut” (University of Princeton Press, 2018), or at least the book’s special conclusion entitled “Tehran 1979-Damascus 2011,” which discusses Adonis' attitudes towards the Islamic revolution in Tehran and compares it to his position towards the Syrian uprising.
Creswell, Hadidi claims, attempts to downplay Adonis’ early infatuation with Khomeini and rehabilitate his position on the Syrian revolution. Creswell’s book, especially its conclusion, consists of three goals: “refining Adonis, trimming his contradictions, and embellishing them.”
Elie Chalala's essay, "New Book on Adonis: A ‘Rehabilitation’ Biography?" is scheduled to appear in Al Jadid, Vol. 23, No. 76, 2019.
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