quarta-feira, 28 de abril de 2010


Since the formation of the contemporary Middle East in the wake of
World War I, its political life has been bedevilled by the doctrine of
“Arab Nationalism,” which postulates the existence of “a single [Arab]
nation bound by the common ties of language, religion and history…
behind the facade of a multiplicity of sovereign states.” The territorial
expanse of this supposed nation varies according to different exponents
of the ideology, ranging from “merely” the Fertile Crescent to the entire
territory “from the Zagros Mountains in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in
the west, and from the Mediterranean shores and the Anatolian hills in
the north to the Indian Ocean, the sources of the Nile, and the Great
Desert in the south.”1 But the unity of the Arabic-speaking populations
inhabiting these vast territories is never questioned. In the words of the
Palestinian academic Walid Khalidi: “In pan-Arab ideology, this Nation
is actual, not potential. The manifest failure even to approximate unity
does not negate the empirical reality of the Arab Nation. It merely adds
normative and prescriptive dimensions to the ideology of pan-Arabism.
The Arab Nation both is, and should be, one.”

In reality, the term “Arab nationalism” is a misnomer. It does not
represent a genuine national movement or ideal but is rather a
euphemism for raw imperialism. There is not and never has there
been an “Arab nation” and its invocation has been nothing but a
clever ploy to rally popular support behind the quest for dated
imperialist ambitions.

If a nation is a group of people sharing such attributes as common
descent, language, culture, tradition, and history, then nationalism is
the desire of such a group for self-determination in a specific territory
that they consider to be their patrimony. The only common
denominators among the widely diverse Arabic-speaking populations
of the Middle East - the broad sharing of language and religion - are
consequences of the early Islamic imperial epoch. But these common
factors have generated no general sense of Arab solidarity, not to
speak of deeply rooted sentiments of shared history, destiny, or
attachment to an ancestral homeland. Even under universal Islamic
empires from the Umayyad to the Ottoman, the Middle East’s Arabicspeaking
populations did not unify or come to regard themselves as a
single nation: the various kingdoms and empires competed for
regional mastery or developed in parallel with other cultures formally
under the same imperial aegis.

Similarly Arabic, like other imperial languages such as English,
Spanish, and French, has been widely assimilated by former subject
populations who had little else in common. As Lawrence of Arabia,
probably the most influential Western champion of pan-Arabism in
the 20th century, admitted in his later years: “Arab unity is a
madman's notion - for this century or next, probably. Englishspeaking
unity is a fair parallel.”

This dissonance between the reality of state nationalism and the dream
of an empire packaged as a unified “Arab nation” has created a legacy
of violence that has haunted the Middle East into the 21st century.
Incessant interventionism under the pretence of pan-Arab solidarity has
had the effect of transforming the bilateral Palestinian-Israeli dispute
into a multilateral Arab-Israeli conflict, thereby prolonging its duration,
increasing its intensity, and making its resolution far more complex and
tortuous. This interventionism, however, has been less motivated by a
concern for the wellbeing of the Palestinian Arabs, let alone the
protection of their national rights, than by an imperialist worldview
rejecting the idea of Jewish encroachment on what was considered a
part of the pan-Arab imperial patrimony. As Abdel Rahman Azzam,
the first secretary-general of the Arab League, told Jewish officials
who came to him in September 1947 to plead for peace: “We will try to
rout you. I am not sure we will succeed, but we will try. We succeeded
in expelling the Crusaders, but lost Spain and Persia, and may lose


Um comentário:

Anônimo disse...

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