Kamal Joumblatt, 1917-1977
The heir of a historical leadership, the politician of a significant epoch, the thinker, the spiritual, the phenomenon.
Kamal Fouad Joumblatt was a man of many dimensions, an extraordinary leader and an unmatched politician and ideologue. The heir of the Druze leadership was among the first advocates of secularism. Despite his feudal background, Joumblatt is considered the father of the contemporary political Left in Lebanon. He was a forward-thinker and a leading supporter of alternative political alignments such as the Third Bloc, the Non-Alignment Movement, the Peace Movement and Arab cooperation facing foreign powers and defending the rights of Palestinian people. An adherent socialist, he believed that political reform and economic strategies are the key to progress and social justice.
Joumblatt was a politician of great influence, a maker and a breaker of governments and of presidents. He lived under the French mandate, witnessed the independence of Lebanon, was elected member of the Parliament most of his lifetime and held several ministerial offices. He was the founder of a political party: the Progressive Socialist Party, and a newspaper. He played a maverick role in Lebanon’s political scene and in the making of the five Lebanese President of State of his lifetime. Joumblatt had a great interest in regional and international politics. His role was acknowledged by most Arab leaders and made him a key player in inter-Arab affairs. He held several key regional positions and was at the heart of Arab political dynamism. He was a great friend and admirer of Jamal Abdel Nasser.
In a broader context, Joumblatt was a thinker, a philosopher, and a visionary for the future of Lebanon, the Arab world, and an enthusiast for humanity. Joumblatt was fascinated by India and by Buddhism, he was an excellent student of Eastern philosophy, who then became a teacher and a writer in this field.
His rare traits included a sublime intellect and an eagerness to acquire knowledge in a wide range of subject areas, which earned him one of his most known titles “the teacher” or “al-Mu’alim”. He was the founder of many literary associations and political alignments. He was a great lecturer and a prolific writer. He founded a newspaper, al-Anba,’ and wrote many of its opening editorials. He published several books on politics, philosophy, and poetry. He held hundreds of press conferences and relayed hundreds of political speeches in the political events of his party, in the Lebanese Parliament, and at national, regional and international conferences. Joumblatt actively participated in many international conferences held by socialist and progressive entities.
The life and achievements of Joumblatt were the subject of many books, films and essays.