A Tribute to Dr. Halim Barakat

Video & Edited Transcript
Judith Tucker & Edmund Ghareeb
 Transcript No. 476 (March 18, 2017) 


Dr. Subhi Ali:

Good afternoon. For those of you that I have not had the privilege of meeting, I am Dr. Subhi Ali. I am a surgeon in Tennessee, but I am the Chairman of the Jerusalem Fund and Palestine Center. I recognize a lot of the faces here and some of the people who were on the board before and who are instrumental in this center flourishing and being here since 1977.

We’re here today to honor one of the people who has had probably more to do with the Palestine Center, where we happen to sit here today, if not more than anybody else: Dr. Halim Barakat. The legacy of Dr. Halim Barakat is what we are here to celebrate. Dr. Barakat is with us. We had our meeting today and it was probably the first day in 25 plus years that Dr. Barakat did not attend the meeting of the Palestine Center Committee. I’ve known Dr. Barakat through Dr. Hisham Sharabi in the 90s and it has been an honor and privilege to know a scholar of the stature of Dr. Barakat.

With us also today are colleagues of Dr. Barakat and just looking at the audience here, I can see that most of us here are colleagues, probably students, associates, and people who have benefited from Dr. Barakat’s wisdom and wit. We have some remarks from some people who have not been able to be here, who would have liked to be here – one gentleman, and I will read on his behalf later. But mainly we have, Dr. Edmund Ghareeb, who is the Senior Scholar of the Palestine Center, who will be making some remarks later, as well as Dr. Judith Tucker, Professor of History at Georgetown University. We are going to let her go first in the interest and appreciation of her time and she will be followed by Dr. Ghareeb. I will mention some remarks from Dr.Hudson and also later some remarks from Dr. Beshara Doumani- who I learned today is related to Dr. Barakat. He is his nephew. I did not know that and I have known both of them for a very long time but I didn’t know that Dr. Barakat is the uncle of Dr. Beshara Doumani. The last remarks will be done by Dr. Barakat’s partner in his journey, Hayat.

First, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Jerusalem Fund and the Palestine Center, I would like to recognize Dr. Barakat. Dr. Barakat spent, I know more than 25 years, associative of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Center and he was here dutifully every Saturday morning that we met. We owe you a debt of gratitude for the selflessness. I am a surgeon. I’m not an academic or a scholar of history or sociology or whatever but I’ve always admired his calmness. Surgeons are not necessarily calm. Whenever things got very testy, there comes Dr. Barakat calmly, calming things down and literally pointing the way to where should be the path. On behalf of the Board of the Jerusalem Fund and Palestine Center and, I must say, the Palestinians in the United States and all over the world, I would like to present Dr. Barakat with plaque in recognition of your selfless service to the whole cause. At the same time, our staff has something to present to your spouse, your partner in your journey, Hayat this is our Program Director Samirah. Thank you Samirah and thanks to the staff that did the work for this event.They always do a great job. The first remarks will be given by Dr. Judith Tucker and I’ll invite you to take over from here. Dr. Tucker, we appreciate you being here and I know the Barakat family too.

Before she starts, I would like to mention that Dr. Michael Hudson was supposed to be here but he could not. He also would have loved to be here and give some remarks.


Dr. Judith Tucker:

I really feel very honored to have been asked to say a few words about Dr. Halim Barakat, who was a treasured colleague of mine at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown where we overlapped on the faculty for almost 20 years.

During his 27 years at Georgetown, Halim was a mainstay of the Center, one of a generation of stellar Arab intellectuals, including Hisham Sharabi, Hanna Batatu, and Ibrahim Oweiss, (and Mike Hudson, honorary Arab intellectual) who shaped the mission of the Center, formulating its unique academic programs focused on the Arab World, establishing its reputation as the go-to place for the study of the modern Arab region, and perhaps most importantly of all, imbuing it with a sense of purpose – a deep-seated and unabashed recognition of the role that the aspirations of the people of the region could and should play in our program of study and research.

Halim came to Georgetown after completing doctoral work in sociology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and then stints of teaching at AUB, Harvard, and University of Texas-Austin. Over the years with us he pioneered and taught a range of courses in sociology, including Contemporary Arab Society, The Sociology of Arab politics: Alienation and change, Arab Society: Alienation and Exile, and the Sociology of Religion: Arab World. He anchored the study of Arab society at Georgetown from 1976 to 2002, 26 years of introducing students in the Master of Arts in Arab Studies program to the Arab World in unvarnished, and also as you may have noticed, its alienated form. He also created literature courses that addressed the study of fiction in context, teaching modern Arab fiction and Arabic short stories with close attention to social and political themes. He was a very popular and well appreciated teacher who equipped generations of students for unbiased and empathetic engagement with the Arab World.

He was also a good citizen of the Center. He served long years on the Executive Committee that shaped the curriculum and directed the activities of the Center and did yeoman’s service on a number of committees – visiting scholars, public relations, admissions. As those of you who know him might well suspect, Halim was a colleague who made his contributions quietly – in a university environment where understatement and humility are not all that pervasive, I so much appreciated the tone Halim set – modest, egalitarian, thoughtful of others, a favorite among colleagues and staff as a result. But no pushover – always a man of principle who stood his ground during the many years in which the Center was being attacked for daring to offer alternate views of the Arab World and the Middle East in general.

Halim was already an accomplished scholar when he arrived, and his output and reputation continued to grow during his Georgetown years. I won’t try to speak to his lengthy list of publications, the many books and articles you can find on his resume. A few words, however, about one of his path-breaking books that became a classic in the field. In 1984 he published a book on contemporary Arab society that met with much interest, and then was updated and revised in 1993, appearing from University of California Press as The Arab World: Society, Culture, and State. This book became a best-seller, at least in academic terms – it was used and is still used as a text in sociology and Middle East studies classes – several generations of students in the West have learned about Arab society largely from Halim’s work.

And what did they learn? He challenged some of the major tropes that had weighed heavily on prior scholarship: the Arab World was not explicable as simply a product of Islam and an amorphous Islamic culture; it was not best understood as a “mosaic society” of fragmented communities existing side-by-side in uneasy stasis. Rather Halim’s Arab society was one of high complexity, a dynamic place of social struggle and change, a place where ideas and aspirations mattered, a place where the goal, in his own words of an “overarching, unified, democratic, secular, and egalitarian Arab nation,” had never died and could still inform social action. Some accused him of being overly idealistic, especially in the face of the disasters that kept striking the region. But surely the ability to imagine a better future is one of the critical first steps toward any significant change.

Still, he never pulled any punches when it came to the critique of Arab society. In this book and through his academic career, Halim remained a critical voice of conscience, speaking to Arab society as much as to the West. We are better than this, he seemed to be saying. We had and can still have much higher aspirations. We must fight against the forces of tribalism, retrograde and small picture nationalism, class and gender-based oppression.

Halim has been a rarity in terms of his scholarly audiences – he is a bridging intellectual, one who has interpreted Arab society for his colleagues and students in the West through his high level of activity in talks and conferences at a wide array of conferences and universities in North America. He has also been very much engaged with his intellectual counterparts in the Arab world with a strong presence on the Arab intellectual circuit. [He is] a man who is well known and highly respected in the region, invited to conferences and seminars in Europe and the Arab World – from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt to Morocco. I have personally benefitted from his reputation – when I travel in the Arab World and say I am from Georgetown, I get a warm welcome. “Oh, Georgetown,” they say, “Halim Barakat, Hisham Sharabi.”

And Halim has been a bridge of another kind: between social scientists and creative writers. He has been deeply involved in discussions about the role of intellectuals in cultural change and issues of Arab culture and creativity in difficult political and social contexts, putting his thoughts about these issues into action as an award-winning novelist and short story writer. His creative work anticipated and reflected many of the signal moments in modern Arab history in human terms – brought home the human dimension, the aspirations and the losses, as they were experienced by Arabs in the maelstrom of late 20th century political upheavals. And here, as elsewhere he never let go of the dream deferred of a better Arab nation – even in darkest days – perhaps we need his vision now more than ever.

I am so pleased to have had this opportunity to celebrate and thank Professor Barakat for all he brought to the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, to his colleagues and students, and to a global intellectual enterprise.


Dr. Subhi Ali: Thank you Dr. Tucker. I would like to mention that the bio of Dr. Tucker as well as Dr. Ghareeb are in the pamphlet that you have on your seats. I would like to mention that Dr. Barakat was actually born in Syria. A country that a lot of us hear about daily. In Kafroun, Syria. Then he was raised in Beirut. He earned his Bachelor degree in Sociology from the American University of Beirut- a very esteemed institution in the Middle East and a PhD in social psychology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Dr. Barakat is the author of seventeen books, some were mentioned by Dr. Tucker and six novels, I believe in Arabic. Very well accomplished. All that in addition to his stellar work at the Palestine Center. Next will be remarks by the Senior Scholar of the Palestine Center, who is probably known to all of you: Dr. Edmund Ghareeb.


Dr. Edmund Ghareeb:

Good afternoon everybody. It’s such a pleasure to see all of you here today. There are many friends, admirers of Halim Barakat, who is being honored today but in reality he’s the one who is honoring us all. There is an Arabic saying which says, “The best of men is he who acquires learning but better than him is the one who transmits it.” I believe this saying perfectly fits Professor Halim Barakat. As I mentioned, we are gathered here as family members, colleagues, friends, and former students of Professor Barakat to honor him, to pay tribute to a man that we admire, and to celebrate with gratitude and joy his full and productive life and his many contributions. As a sociologist, we heard from Judith what a great sociologist he is. He is actually one of the best known, if not the best known, Arab sociologist in the Arab world as well. He’s a scholar, an educator and a columnist, and of course, as we heard, last but not least he is a brilliant and innovative novelist. On top of all of this Halim is a committed intellectual, who always sought not only to study and analyze society but to use his words and his voice to speak up against injustice and to defend those who are oppressed, be they Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, or people of other ethnicities and cultures. There is a saying, also in Arabic that says, although I’m sure it is not just in Arabic, “Behind every great man, there is a great woman.” When I think of Halim’s loving and lovely wife Hayat, I want to change the saying to say that “Next to every great man stands a great woman.” But, I am afraid that Halim is going to say that this is another example of the Aita’s people conspiring against him. He always tells me that the Aita people are always conspiring against the Kafrouni. For those who do not know, Hayat and I are distantly related and come from the same village of Aita and it was actually in Aita that Halim met Hayat, and I’ll tell you a little bit about that. I was going to talk more about his scholarly works but since we had Judith and we have Beshara,… by the way, Dr.Hudson spoke with his daughter last night and he’s doing much better. He dictated a few points to her this morning and she sent them to me and I will share them with you after I finish.

I also want to take the opportunity to salute the other members of Halim’s family: his brother Tony and his wife Layla; his sons, Spiro and Danny; and his daughter Mahat. Also, I want to salute as well his nephew, Professor Dumani, a good friend and a great scholar and his wife Esmat and I met his lovely daughter this morning, Rhada. Congratulations to all of you.

As I was saying, it was actually in Aita when I first saw Halim in the late 50s. I was a young kid at that time. He had come to Aita and was staying with a second cousin of mine. They both were studying at the American University of Beirut and my cousin Faris and his sisters and Asaaf were close friends of Halim and his family and some of the other friends. Faris and his sisters would always invite some of their friends from the university and others to visit them and come and stay with them during the summer. I was in my teens and these occasions were a lot of fun for me and some of my friends, because we always enjoyed hanging around them as the grownups and they were always very kind to let us hang around. These grownups, at the time, would go on picnics to the …., these are springs a few kilometers from our village. There were springs and oak trees and they would have very nice picnics. Sometimes in the evenings, the sahra, they would play games. They would also sing and dance the dabke and actually, this was my first impression of Halim. Not as a scholar, not as a student,not as a researcher. He was a great dabke dancer. He really knew the traditional folk dances and the dabke dances and he was very agile, very nimble, very dynamic in performing the dabke. One time, he noticed me watching him and he asked me if I would join him and I told him I do not know how to dance. He said, “We have to send you some people from Kafroun to teach you how to dance the dabke.”

On later visits, I began to notice that he would maneuver to sit or dance next to Hayat. Actually, I found out later from my cousin Faris, as he recounted a visit to Halim in Aita, where they were walking the street near her house and they happened to look up and Hayat was standing in the window and Halim noticed her and basically he said to Faris, “I didn’t know you had such beautiful women in Aita.” That night, Faris and his family invited Hayat and her family to the sahra at their house. Eventually, Hayat’s family moved to Beirut where they lived near Halim’s family house and that was the beginning of the background of their love story. After my leaving the U.S., I learned that Hayat had moved to the United States with her family. Later on, I was pleased to hear that they had met, married, and I think at that time stayed in Michigan.

The next time I saw Halim was in Beirut when I returned to Beirut to study and take some courses – I didn’t study full time at AUB – and to work as a reporter for the Daily Star. I met Halim again at the apartment of Hisham Sharabi, who was my professor and also asked me to work with him as an assistant editor for the Journal of Palestine Studies. However, I later interviewed Halim for my paper and wrote an article about him, after the AUB president denied him tenure because of his backing of student protests and in support of the Palestinian people. Halim’s political activism and politics angered the powers that be at the university. Especially, after he wrote an article defending the protesting students and that also angered some influential individuals at the university. Students protested this unfair decision. Halim wanted the issue raised before the full faculty but, of course that did not happen. Within a short period after that, Harvard invited Halim to teach there and later he would go, as was mentioned earlier, to teach at the University of Texas.

Then as the Center for Arab Studies was being formed, some of the faculty members, and I think Hisham was also one of them, reached out to Halim because they wanted him to be there to help with the founding of the Center of Contemporary Arab Studies and that’s when Halim joined the Georgetown University. It was during this time, that I really got to know Halim well, especially after Halim and Hayat bought a house on a neighboring street to us. From then on, we saw them regularly and spent many wonderful and enjoyable times together during major snow storms. We would walk over to each other’s house and it was always enjoyable. We’d have great food and of course Halim, with his great sense of humor, it was always a real pleasure to join. Of course, I would beat him at backgammon. Backgammon was one of his favorite games.

Halim was and is foremost a teacher and he is an exceptionally inspiring one. I remember when, one time we were attending a conference together in Baghdad in the 70s and we met a couple of his students who exhibited so much love, affection, admiration, respect, appreciation. They kept inviting him, and I got invited to go along with him. This showed the appreciation this great scholar has among his students, be they in the United States or in the Middle East. Not many scholars have contributed, as we heard from Dr. Subhi and Dr. Tucker, so much to the literary and academic fields as Halim has done. Halim is a sociologist, as we mentioned, and a novelist. He also has the highest standards of scholarship. He’s a model for those standards. He’s an intellectual treasure in his areas of expertise. His work is impeccable in its integrity and wide-ranging scope. Halim’s novels have been translated into many foreign languages including, German and Japanese. These novels, in addition to English of course, run beyond the United States and the English speaking world and the Arabic speaking world as well. Judith mentioned his magisterial study on Arab society, which is an encyclopedic work of over 1,000 pages where Halim focuses attention on the causes of the crises and the problems and challenges facing Arab society in the 20th century. Judith mentioned how this book was being read by American students. Well in fact, this became a textbook among Arab students for colleges all over the Arab world. Halim’s work offered a perceptive analysis of alienation, which is chaining the Arab’s reality. He traced it to the collapse of the pan-Arab dream and the failure to deliver on the governments’ promises of a better way of life and the rise of oppressive governments conspiring and fighting against each other and oppressing their people-denying them their basic rights. Halim did not only analyze that Arab situation, but he also charted a path for a better future. His prescriptions were the activation and expansion of Arab civil society institutions and the revitalization of those institutions and of course with the system of values and the launching of a revolution in education. Of course, he also called on the Arab scientists, Arab leaders, Arab intellectuals to keep up with the information technology revolution and to be selective in dealing with positive sides of globalization, which allows for independence and mutually beneficial interactions.

Halim is a modern Arab intellectual profoundly aware of the challenges and deep sense of alienation facing the Arab world today. As a sociologist and an intellectual, he understood the dynamics of culture, religion, nationalism, and politics. He strongly believed in the glorious promise of Arab unity for a better Arab future. Yet, he remained deeply aware of the greed, the corruption and the short sightedness of Arab leaders and of the tragedies and disasters facing Arab countries and the Arab reality. He also understood the implications and consequences of foreign invasions and interventions in Arab affairs. One book that he wrote was where he monitored the American media’s and political leaders statements about the Second Gulf War and put together one of the best books about what was happening in Iraq and the chicanery that was taking place during that period. One of the developments that most pained Halim in recent years, as I heard in my discussions with him, were the tragedies that befell many Arab peoples, particularly the people of Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and of course, his land of birth, Syria. He was deeply saddened by the foreign invasions, acts of violence, terrorism and destruction, witnessed by the area in which he was born, raised and hoped to retire. I remember his commenting, when one time we saw the pictures of the massacres and the destruction that took place in Damascus in the 1960’s and with some of the pictures that were on TV at that time showing what was going on in Damascus and Aleppo and what he said, “Unfortunately Syria now is again in the mouth of the dragon.”

The first of Halim’s novels that I read was his prophetic, Six Days, which is named for a real war yet to come. It was also the first of a trilogy focusing on the Palestine cause and the Arab defeat of 1967. The tensions within Arab society and the defeat in 67, had wide ranging consequences for not only social scientists, intellectuals, government officials but also for novelists. So, Six Days, although it preceded the war, was published in 1961 and it was pioneering in its style and daring to discuss some of the deeply held beliefs in Arab society. Halim’s focus on Palestinian issues stems from his views that this cause, this issue, is the main one facing the Arab world. Edward Said very much appreciated Halim’s novels and works and particularly his book that he co-authored with professor Peter Dodd on the Palestinian refugee exodus. He and Hayat and a number of students went to Jordan and lived at a refugee camp for quite a while to prepare in writing that book. Halim’s autobiographical novel, The Crane, was the one that I enjoyed the most. It brings to life striking and honest depictions of family stories and village life in Kafroun. Poet Buland al-Haidari said that, “the attraction in this novel is Halim Barakat’s wondrous ability to create constant dialogue between his present reality and the same part of his childhood memories and collections.” The poet Adunis, both of these poets- the late Buland al-Haidari passed away a few years ago- but Adunis is still with us and a close friend of Halim, said that he loved to read Halim’s novels and short stories because “in his struggles he sees things more deeply and in his own way transcends the ordinary visions.” I will close with that and turn to the points that were sent by Professor Hudson.

Professor Hudson says that Halim Barakat has left his mark on many fields: sociology, literature and the challenges of Arab intellectual life. Among these is the groundbreaking and influential article, The Alienation and Mobilization of Arab Students. Sadly, it is as relevant today as it was when it was first written. He wrote the standard Arab sociology textbook that dominated the Arab world in many editions and is used all over the region, giving new generations the critical perspective on their own society so desperately needed. Professor Hudson describes Halim as the “Durkheim” of Arab sociology. He said that, “Halim, as a prophetic novelist, who wrote many novels and kept on writing, uses literature to reach to an even much larger audience by showing rather than telling and illustrating rather than generalizing about society and culture and individuals that make them up.” In the 1980s he convened the important conference on the role of intellectuals that inspired North American leftists. Fatema Mernissi called for democracy while Algerian intellectual, Mahfoud Bennoune called for the state-led infrastructure of development through steel and iron. This contradiction and dilemma resonates in the dire predicament of the Arab society today.

Furthermore, Halim Barakat has been, over the decades, a charming fellow, an engaging raconteur, a teller of jokes, a great friend, a good nationalist, a principled anti-sectarian–all qualities [that are] in short supply today and are necessary for a brighter Arab future. We also salute his tremendously capable wife, Hayat, and his distinguished nephew, Beshara Doumani-historian of Palestine at Brown, friend and interlocutor of Hisham Sharabi and many other Arab intellectuals. Halim was always an engaged public intellectual, especially during the Kuwait conflict and the first Gulf War. He was blisteringly honest and critical and spoke truth to power.


Dr. Subhi Ali: Dr. Barakat, I have no idea. I was in Washington DC when the Six Day War took place and I was vice-president of the Organization of Arab Students in the United States and Canada, and I recall those days very well. How you predicted the Six Day War and wrote a novel about Six Day War, six years before in 1961, I have no idea. However, with all that said, we’ve learned about Halim the person from Syria who was raised in Lebanon, the academic, the intellectual, the selfless servant for Arab causes, especially the Palestinian cause-where I come from. I can truly say that you are one of the most humble human beings and academic that I have known. Thank you for all that you have done for Palestine and for the Arab world and I think that a lot of your students and colleagues would join me in that sentiment.

There are some remarks sent to me by colleagues of Dr. Barakat who couldn’t be here and there are a lot of accolades and so on. Before I go on, I would like to ask your nephew, Beshara, to say a few remarks.


Dr. Beshara Doumani:

Thank you for this opportunity. I’ll be very brief, these are personal remarks to Halim. Halim Barakat is a person that formed me. The most formative influence in my life by far, in my education, before I was even aware of it and I don’t remember, but apparently he took me to school that first day and has been with me on that journey ever since. When I finished high school I got a phone call from Kenyon College, a college offering me a scholarship and room and board. I’d never heard of it. I did not know much about colleges at the time. I did not know the difference between a private and a public school and I called, of course the only person I could call. I said, “What is this place?” He said, “That is the place you need to go,” and I did.

Most of what I learned from his living room, and I should say Hayat and Halim’s living room, of the many evenings of my life that I sat in that living room with a steady stream of Arab intellectuals – great women and men who went to their house and never talked about silly or superficial things ever. Every evening was an evening of strong political and emotional discussions and I learned so much over the years from these discussions. His house was my school. One of my earliest memories is of Halim taking me to the city, Beirut, to bookstores. He was the one who took me to my first bookstore and he bought me, I remember when I was nine or ten, the complete collection of Kahlil Gibran’s works. I ate it up voraciously, at that time, and I’ve been reading deeply ever since because of him and this is just on the intellectual side. Actually, it was in his house that I first listened to a phonograph of music. It was with him that I first went on nature walks and picked stones and so on and so forth. On every part of my life, Halim has been the most important person.

Perhaps his greatest gift is that he taught me, without using words, how to think beyond one’s self. He told me many stories and that an important event in his life is when a crane, migrating over Kafroun, was shot down by a hunter and it literally fell by his feet. I’ve been pondering why is that such an eventful moment for him and I think I understand. That is that injustice cannot be ignored. Even if we want to ignore injustice, it will come to us and it will face us and what is it that we should do? We should not ignore it and we should act to remedy it and that is the lesson that I have always learned from Halim throughout my life. So, publicly and for the first time, I will say that Halim Barakat is not like my father or is not as a father to me. He is my father. He is also my mentor and my longest and best friend. Humble to a fault. I told him this morning, “Well today is the day when there is a tribute to you and I may say a few words.” He says, “You cannot say a few words,” and I said, “Why not,” and he said, “Because you’d be biased.” Yes, I am biased and with all my heart.


Dr. Subhi Ali: Beshara, I think you have every right to be biased. I think every one of us would be proud to have an uncle to be biased about like yours. This moment, I would like to mention Dr. Hisham Sharabi, a very dear friend of Dr. Barakat. I used to chat with Dr. Sharabi, which by the way this is the Hisham Sharabi Memorial Library, most Sundays. He was one of two mentors that I always acclaim; one is Dr. Farsoun, that I met in 1962 and some of you will remember him and he was my first mentor when I was at the University of Utah and then later Dr. Hisham Sharabi. When I talked to Hisham on our chats on Sundays, he said, “Oh I have to go to Halim Barakat’s.” That’s where Hisham always dedicated his Sunday evenings.

We are really honored to be honoring you. The Palestine Center has been the recipient of your wisdom, your service, your dedication for over two decades. Again, on behalf of the board of directors, I salute you and thank you for all that you have done in Washington, D.C. and the Arab world for the cause of Palestine. At this moment I also would like to recognize, when I came to the Jerusalem Fund about 2000 when I joined the board, Dr. Hisham Sharabi had asked me to join the board for over two years and he was joined by Dr. Ziad Deeb who is sitting here. Ziad, please stand up and be recognized. Ziad spent a lot of years on the board of the Jerusalem Fund and is, of course, a friend of Dr.Sharabi and Dr.Barakat. We’ve heard a lot about Hayat, so I’m not going to introduce her. The last word goes to Hayat Barakat.


Mrs. Hayat Barakat:

Don’t expect too much. On behalf of Halim and myself, I wish to thank Dr. Subhi Ali, the board of directors and the staff who put together this tribute. Also, Dr. Judith Tucker and Dr. Edmund Ghareeb for their kind testimony. Halim had worked with the late professor Hisham Sharabi, his life long friend, on things including the Alif Gallery and the Jerusalem Fund in the Washington area. He wrote two novels, Six Days and Days of Dust, on the Palestine problem and many essays in Arabic and in English. Immediately after the Six Day War, he and Dr. Peter Dodd and students from the American University of Beirut and myself went to the Sizia Refugee Camp in Amman, Jordan to study the exodus of the 1967. We all stayed at the camps, sleeping in tents and cots. I can still hear the kids screaming from the cold at night. They wrote a book called, River Without Bridges, that won an award. This experience and many others of coming together as a community to face our common challenges, it is difficult moments like these where I really appreciate the importance of friends and family. We are so thankful to all of you for joining us today. Finally, to the love of my life for 56 years journey together and a great adventure. I thank you all so much and appreciate your coming.


Dr. Subhi Ali: I think Hayat truly said the last word. I thank you on behalf of the Barakat family, the Jerusalem Fund, the Palestine Center for being here. I think I have learned, and I thought that I knew a lot about Halim Barakat, but I learned a lot today and I think that we’re privileged to have known you Dr. Barakat. We wish you many more years of good health and continued giving to the Arab community in Washington, D.C. and the academic world that you have served. Thank you again sir.