Nationalism in the Middle East
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The paper looks at how the nationalism espoused by Egyptian workers and peasants provided a social basis for nationalism promoted by the state, and discusses the dilemma of Egyptian nationalists over the original use of Arabic in the Paranoiac age since Ancient Egyptians did not speak Arabic. The paper then looks at Iranian nationalists who began to invoke their own pre-Islamic past, and unlike Egyptians, had a continuity of the usage of Persian as their main language of communication. The paper explains how Iranian nationalists divided Iranian history into two eras, pre-Islamic and Islamic, but notes that Iranian nationalists retained the Arabic script in their language. The paper then relates that this was not the case in Turkey, where nationalists were able to change their script from Arabic to Latin, and, Turkish nationalists removed many Arabic and Persian words from Turkish, removed religion from the public sphere, and established a territory based on Anatolia.
From the Paper:"One of the elements of new nationalism in the Middle East after World War I was the designation of clear-cut territorial elements. In Egypt, for example, territorial elements became visible in postage stamps and money notes, depicting pre-Islamic and pre-Arabic themes such as the pyramids, Nefertiti, and Tut-Ankh-Amon. The Paranoiac past became a source of Egyptian self-assertion. The New Egyptian government, following the revolution of 1919, used the discovery of the tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amon and the establishment of the Egyptian Parliament as symbols of a new nation-state. Intellectuals and political leaders of the new Egypt appealed to the masses by glorifying their past, depicting the Paranoiac age as the cradle of world civilization. In this new Egypt, orientation towards Europe and secularism were important, and there was no place for pan-Arabism in the eyes of these new nationalists. "There is not a shadow of doubt in my heart that Egypt and the Arabs are dramatically opposed," an Egyptian novelist Tawfiq al-Hakim remarked, "Egypt is spirit, calm, permanence, constructiveness; the Arabs are material, haste, transience, superficiality" (Baram, 1990, p. 431).
"According to Lockman (1988), the state-initiated nationalism coincided with a particular kind of nationalism espoused by peasants and workers. There were various social reasons for the development of nationalism from the bottom-up."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Baram, A. (1990) Territorial Nationalism in the Middle East. Middle Eastern Studies, 26(4): 425-448.
- Brockett, G.D. (1998) Collective Action and the Turkish Revolution: Towards a Framework for the Social History of the Ataturk Era, 1923-1938. Middle Eastern Studies, 34(4): 44-66.
- Kia, M. (1998) Persian Nationalism and the Campaign for Language Purification. Middle Eastern Studies, 34(2): 9-36.
- Lockman, Z. (1988) The Social Roots of Nationalism: Workers and the National Movement in Egypt, 1908-1919. Middle Eastern Studies, 24(4): 445-459.
Cite this Term Paper:
Nationalism in the Middle East (2013, May 03) Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/nationalism-in-the-middle-east-153103/
"Nationalism in the Middle East" 03 May 2013. Web. 27 January. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/nationalism-in-the-middle-east-153103/>