Arabs at the Crossroads
Political Identity and NationalismeBook - 2000
"This work is brave and important. Dr. Khashan takes the necessary scholarly risk of saying things that are unpopular in many Arab circles. Calling on the Arabs to reexamine their identity is not an easy task for a resident of Beirut."--Jamal R. Nassar, Illinois State University
In this provocative study, Hilal Khashan assesses Arab political experience during the 20th century. He examines the rise and fall of Arab hopes for founding a territorial entity based on a unified identity, focusing on important issues that contribute to the existing impasse that prevails in the Arab world. These issues include the concept of Arab nationalism; the seeming inability of Arab ruling elites to liberalize their societies, propel economic growth, and enfranchise the masses; and the growth of Islamic revival movements.
Khashan dissects the components of the Arabs' political quagmire by recognizing the nature of their identity crisis, as well as its ramifications. In a departure from typical academic writing, he prescribes an agenda to help the Arabs deal better with the challenges of the 21st century, dwelling on the need for them to respect authority, reconsider their nationalistic identity, define and pursue realistic objectives, and commit themselves to political representation. In addition, his explanation of Iraq’s motives when it triggered the two Gulf conflicts differs sharply from most Western accounts.
Khashan articulates issues that the majority of writers on Arab affairs prefer to avoid. Arab intellectuals and scholars of the Middle East as well as journalists and politicians will be fascinated by this controversial book.
Hilal Khashan, associate professor of political science at the American University of Beirut, is the author of Inside the Lebanese Confessional Mind and Partner or Pariah? Attitudes Toward Israel in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan and has published in such journals as Orbis, Middle East Quarterly, and Arab Studies Quarterly.