By Nissim Rejwan
What's an Arab? although many within the West might solution that question with simplistic stereotypes, the truth is much extra advanced and engaging. Arabs themselves were debating Arab identification on the grounds that pre-Islamic occasions, coming to a number of conclusions in regards to the nature and volume in their "Arabness." Likewise, Westerners and others have tried to investigate Arab identification, achieving regularly unfavourable conclusions approximately Arab tradition and skill for self-government. To carry new views to the query of Arab id, Iraqi-born pupil Nissim Rejwan has assembled this attention-grabbing number of writings via Arab and Western intellectuals, who try and outline what it skill to be Arab. He starts with pre-Islamic occasions and keeps to the final a long time of the 20 th century, quoting thinkers starting from Ibn Khaldun to trendy writers equivalent to al-Ansari, Haykal, Ahmad Amin, al-'Azm, and acknowledged. via their works, Rejwan indicates how Arabs have grappled with such major matters because the effect of Islam, the increase of nationalism, the hunt for democracy, women's prestige, the more youthful new release, Egypt's position within the Arab international, Israel's position in center jap clash, and the West's "cultural invasion." via letting Arabs converse for themselves, Arabs within the replicate refutes a famous Western stereotype--that Arabs are incapable of self-reflection or self-government. to the contrary, it unearths a wealthy culture of self-criticism and self-knowledge within the Arab global.
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Extra resources for Arabs in the Mirror: Images and Self-Images from Pre-Islamic to Modern Times
165). Fred Halliday (b. 1946), a noted British student of the Middle East, quotes Said’s strictures, adding that here, of course, “the myth-makers of the region see their chance, since they can impose their own stereotypes by taking advantage of confusion within their own countries and without” (“‘Orientalism’ and Its Critics,” 160–161). ” Here, he adds, it is not a question of making any moral equivalence between the myths of the dominators and the dominated, but of recognising two other things: ﬁrst, that when it comes to hypostasis, stereotyping, the projection of timeless and antagonistic myths, this is in no sense a prerogative of the dominator, but also of the dominated; and, secondly, that if we analyse the state of the discourse on the contemporary Middle East, then the contribution of these ideologies of the dominated has been, and remains, enormous, not least because those outside the region who try to overcome the myths of the Orient rather too quickly end up colluding with, or accepting, the myths of the dominated within the region.
They have mastered the art of improvisation and got used to it, and a consciousness of the future has become quite alien to them and far from their thoughts. Their actions furnish ample proof of this—and as a natural outcome of all this, failure has overtaken them in all walks of life” (8). It would hardly be an exaggeration to say, Touqan adds, that this absence of a sense of the future in the Arabs is one of the causes of the series of disasters that befell them in their own lands and of their failures in the international arena: “There is no doubt that consciousness of the future—or awareness of it—is a factor in the success of the West and in its mastery of nature.
The titles of most of his works evolve around the themes of science and reason. One of his books, published in Beirut in 1964, is entitled The Place of Reason in the Arab World— and his previous works include The Scientiﬁc Legacy of the Arabs (1941), The Arabs and the Scientiﬁc Method (1946), and After the Catastrophe, a book on the Palestine question, published in Beirut in 1950. indb 25 11/14/07 11:14:50 AM a r a bs i n t h e m i r ror however, the only one devoted wholly to social and cultural criticism is his Wacy al-Mustaqbal (Consciousness of the Future), published in 1953.