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A Muslim homeland 
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Post A Muslim homeland
Chapter 16, section ii. ends with Sire Edward Grey supposing that the Muslims would have to be compensated for the loss of the Ottoman Empire by the creation of a new Muslim state "elsewhere", presumably in Arabia. Grey's thinking seems to have followed more or less Zionist lines -- that the religious community of Muslims would feel endangered, embittered or disenfranchised without some political body to serve as protection and support.

I'm not sure how well his reasoning stands up, though. The Muslim and Jewish situations were not, at the time analagous. The Jews had been more or less nationless since before the Roman Empire. Zionist was an attempt to build a homeland for a population that had been disenfranchised for the better part of their recent history. Muslims, on the other hand, were watching their political body -- in as much as it was a Muslim trust -- be dismantled by foreign powers. The creation of an artificial state would like have seemed like cold comfort. More likely, I think they'd have felt hedged in by the European powers, interned in a part of the world that the Europeans thought practically useless, conceded just enough homeland to pacify their religious confederates abroad.

And I wonder to what degree, and in what shape, some inkling of that sentiment is at play throughout the last 90 years of Middle Eastern history. Any thoughts?




Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:57 pm
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Post Islamic homeland
The prototype for the Middle East, certainly then and currently with the Israeli settlement program, can be found in the successful removal of American Indians (or Koi Sans and Boers in South Africa) from lands coveted by Europeans.

First, one must make the people from which lands will be expropriated into sub-humans. As Skyes observed:

"Of the town Arabs he had written that they were 'cowardly', 'insolent yet dispicable (sic)', vicious as far as their feeble bodies will admit.' Bedouin Arabs were 'rapacious, greedy . . . animals". (pg 181)

Today we are bombarded with essays on the barbarity and inhumanity of Islam as a religion and descriptions of Arabs as a primitive people. One of the justifications for the founding of Israel has been that the European settlers "made the desert bloom" where the ignorant Palestinians had left the land fallow.

Had a homeland for Muslims been initiated it would have quickly shrunk in acreage, much like most Indian treaty lands as oil fields, trade ports, and military facilities were conceded to the European powers. Nasser would not have been allowed off the reservation to bother the Suez Canal with nationalization.




Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:28 am
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Post Re: Islamic homeland
Don't forget the Maori in New Zealand and the Aboriginal tribes of Australia.

In light of all these examples of European policy towards indigenous peoples, one question it would be interesting to explore -- though I'm sure I don't have the resources to do it on short notice -- would be that of how Middle Easterners have managed some measure of autonomy and have kept from being hedged into some far smaller territory, particularly after it became clear that some large measure of wealth was located below ground in the Arabian peninsula. I think we've got a pretty solid handle on the perspective that duplicitous Europeans have shaped the region, though the details are still worth examining, but we haven't given as much thought to the Arab side of the question, and I'm not terribly comfortable viewing them as so resolutely passive.




Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:49 pm
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Post Re: Islamic homeland
Incidentally, Mandate, welcome to the fray. I've only seen your name crop up in the last couple of days, so I assume you're new to BookTalk. Is that correct? You also seem to be familiar with Fromkin's book. Is it something you've already read, or are you reading along with us?




Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:51 pm
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Post Re: Islamic homeland
Thanks Mad. Yes, this is my first experience with BookTalk. I read most of the book several years ago, and am taking this opportunity to refamiliarize myself with the it.

I tried to jump in at about the place that the group seems to have reached.

Edited by: minority mandate at: 8/9/06 1:50 pm



Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:49 pm
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Post Re: Islamic homeland
Cool. I'm glad you could join us. Just out of interest, was the book itself one of the things that brought you to BookTalk, or did you find your way here some other way?

And feel free to jump around to other parts of the book as you please. We're all reading at different paces, and I've tried to make the structure of discussion loose enough that we can pick up and leave off at whichever point our interests dictate. I'm moving rather slowly through the book, but don't feel constrained to keep step with me.




Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:34 pm
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Post found it
I believe I found Book Talk on my library web page. But the book would have brought me in. It is a seminal work that should be read by a whole lot of people who are holding forth about issues in the mid east.




Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:16 am
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Post Re: found it
Yeah, Mandate, welcome. I agree with you on this book -- I'm not a big reader of straight history like this, but I joined this discussion in particular out of a need to understand the area, and this book seems to fit the bill.

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:04 pm
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