Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hani Hindi died

This is one of the very small circle of Arabs who founded the Movement of Arab Nationalists.  He lived quietly and silently and died quietly and silently.  In recent years, he focused all his energies on collecting and publishing the body of political literature of the Movement of Arab Nationalists.  (They are published in many volumes).  I used to hear about Hini from Hanna Batatu.  He told me that he is indebted for his book on Iraq to Hani Hindi. He told me that Hindi was the one who opened the doors of Iraq for him and he intervened to have the government there open the police archive for Batatu.  When I arrived to Washington, DC, I met through Basim Qattan the nephew of Hani Al-Hindi, Firas who was a student at GWU (where is Firas now, I wonder?).  Firas wanted to meet Batatu so I accompanied Firsas to meet him at Georgetown, and Batatu opened up his yellow pad and started to grill Firas with questions about Syria and the ruling clique (he was still working on Syria at the time).  After we left, I remember Firas telling me: I did not know that he was going to grill me.  I said: Batatu would grill a passerby.  It is a shame that Hindi never wrote his memoirs.