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Egyptian-French Marxist thinker Samir Amin dies in Paris

Samir Amin was one of the Arab world's great Marxist thinkers [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 August, 2018

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A leading Arab leftist thinker has died in Paris, with tributes coming from across the world praising the controversial figure

 

Egyptian-French leftist thinker Samir Amin has died in Paris, with tributes pouring in from across the world, praising the controversial Marxist economist who has left a lasting impact on political theory.

Amin died from a brain tumor at a Paris hospital on Saturday, after losing a months' long battle with the disease, his colleague Cherif Salif said.

"A very shocking news of passing away of Samir Amin after a brief period of memory loss to brain tumor and suffering. The world has lost a towering thinker and activist, a humble comrade and friend," Salif said, according to Egyptian Streets.

Amin was one of the world's leading Marxist intellectuals, and his views on the "Third World" saw him attract a wide and passionate following in Africa and the Middle East.

He was born in Egypt to an Egyptian father and French mother, and spent his life between the two countries, studying in both Port Said and Paris, where he helped develop his Marxist beliefs that were formed in childhood.

"I considered myself a communist already at secondary school. Probably we did not know exactly what it meant, but we knew it meant two or three things: it meant equality between human beings and between nations, and it meant that this has been done by the Russian revolution, the Soviet Union," he told the Review of African Political Economy.

After academia, Amin worked in variety of government posts, before becoming director of the Third World Forum in 1980. 

His economic theories became hugely popular across the developing world, and he coined the widely used term "eurocentrism" to explain Europe's preoccupation with its own histories and narratives.

As a Marxist, he agreed that capitalism would eventually fall, and proposed that the neo-liberal phase of this epoch was coming to an end.

His views were shared by many socialist leaders in South and Central America, who paid tribute to the intellectual.

"I regret the passing of our brother Samir Amin, great anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist Marxist intellectual, supported the struggle of the peoples of the world with his insights and teachings. The legacy of his ideals of social justice will be eternally acknowledged. Immortal," said Bolivia President Evo Morales

However, he courted controversy for his firm opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood, even after the Islamist movement came to power following Egypt's first free democratic elections in 2012.

"We should not just look at the Muslim Brotherhood as a political Islamist power but as a backward movement that rejects workers movements and social justice, preferring to talk about charity as a form to ensure their control over the people," he once said, according to al-Ahram.

 

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